Here is a new label dedicated to re-issuing 1980s Post Punk electronics and Minimal Synth from Australia now that every single record from the rest of the world has now been dug up.
The first title is a compilation from the legendary Melbourne Minimal Wave trio The Metronomes who formed in 1979 and released two singles and two studio albums.
From the sound of it, it's the kind of futurist minimal synth post punk type stuff that you lot lap up with nods to Eno, Craig Leon and Gary Numan.
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- Time Keeping (1979-1985) by The Metronomes
9/10 Brian Staff review, 06 November 2014
There's been a pretty comprehensive re-issue set of stuff by this cult Australian synth outfit a few years ago on the Italian Mannequin label but this neat new white vinyl compilation serves as an excellent primer to their eccentric outsider tunes that stand up incredibly well today. Original copies of their stuff go for silly money so you'd be wise to invest in this baby maybe. One of them even regularly collaborated with Einsturzende Neubauten later on. This is pop music but freaking weird pop with jutting angles and proto-electro moods. Definitely a subtle industrial undercurrent to much of their oeuvre too (see 'Closed Circuit').
11 career spanning tracks in no particular order, mainly from their first two classic singles and the debut LP, 'Multiple Choice', seemingly hand chosen by the band on this occasion. Forming at a Melbourne house party in '78, these three guys became near legends in their time by splicing eerie android synths, pooting brittle drum machine and cute Kraftwerkian melodies into miniature minimal gems. 'A Circuit Like Me' is the pop treasure for me, a debut single that will have you gasping in awe at its warm android simplicity courtesy of the Ghost Box-friendly Roland CR-78. The enigmatic Talking Judy is the guest spoken word vocalist here as I'm thinking maybe at the time, the boys thought the tune too sweet for their male tones. Another excellent cut 'Justification' has wonderful contrapuntal synth melodies and a a real cool 'A Forest' style bass rhythm. The spoken word style continues with a repeated mantra of "At least it has a steady rhythm' from one of the lads. It's quite possibly an influence on the Canadian Suction label around the Millennium and especially their once adopted son Skanfrom.
The appeal here is the incredibly sparse, cyclic and rudimentary arrangements that ensure the tunes don't get bogged down in anything but their adorable quirkiness or melancholy, exploratory wonder. The vocals range from the quaint to the faintly sinister but these strange tunes, with their occasional implicit flourishes of processed guitar, ponderous bass or female backing vocal are consistently fantastic. Another notable piece, 'A Living Person', shines with its lazy mid-paced lollop, horizon-gazing synth and all-too-brief vocal from another one-time guest Karen Bronczyk. Some nice evil dirty monotone guitar strides later in too. Sounds like Artery crossed with early OMD with a baby Vi Subversa on vocals....yeah that cool. Whether this is the aforementioned Talking Judy I'm unsure but it wouldn't surprise me she seems to pop up quite regularly adding an air of quizzical nonchalance to proceedings. 'Sex II' is also mad as chips, kinda pre-dating some of the B-52's finest early 80's kookiness. A load of tasty foodstuffs orally listed with lascivious delight. There's even a track, 'Losing Things' that hits someplace between Young Marble Giants and Woo. Truly fascinating archive gear this....
This trio are a lost down under treasure and all the more beguiling and essential for it. My true lovely surprise of the week....
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