RAIN ON YOUR PARADE - Kamikaze Trio- (In-Fidelity Records)
The second album from Melbourne’s Kamikaze Trio follows close on the heels of their excellent “French Lick” four track ep from late last year and ploughs a similar angsty intelligent furrow.
Various Melbourne band pedigrees and backgrounds combine in the Trio, to create something that sounds very different to any of their prior/other combos and also completely unique. The past year or so has seen them go through several kinds of hell, up to and including emergency surgery for one of them. It’s been a pretty severe toughening up process, I think, and the result comes across loud and clear in the music served up here. It’s pretty savage, both lyrically and sonically. Guitarist and singer Sam Agostino doesn’t sound like a man who suffers fools gladly, and the lyrics here come across as both very personal and occasionally downright vicious.
Their traveling life in various bands, as well as the Trio’s own overseas journeys, give them plenty of material. Love, lies, drugs, travel, touring, coming home- there are some recurrent themes to be glimpsed throughout the course of the nine songs on offer. From the furious, spitting opener, “My Demons” (“These aren’t my demons, this is me” ) to the closing “7 to 1” ( “I gave you 20 Euros to buy the morning after pill”) with its door slamming, bridge burning final lines, there’s nothing soft or fluffy to be found here. That said, the playing is dynamic enough to provide plenty of light and shade, thankfully without any clichéd loud/soft/loud structures. There’s plenty of swirling guitar that stays just this side of full on noise rock, and manages not to sound self consciously arty, either. There’s a fair whack of Sonic Youth/Dinosaur Jr style distortion floating round in the mix, too. But again, it’s the pain and the delivery of the lyrics that are the key.
They are officially launching this in August, with a brief Australian tour to follow. “Bring your ear plugs...this one is gonna explode”, is the band’s advice and on the evidence here I’d take it pretty seriously.
If this record is representative of the state of Melbourne indie rock in 2007 then it is a snarly, world class affair indeed. - TJ Honeysuckle
DANGER MONEY - Kamikaze Trio (Infidelity Records)
The Kamikaze Trio comprises Sam Agostino and Andy Moore from Melbourne garage power duo Digger and the Pussycats, plus Snoop Mitchell. Like many bands trying to establish a niche in the populous local market, their touring schedule continues to be hectic (balancing the band's activities with the increasing interest centered on Digger and the Pussycats cannot be an easy task). The Kamikaze Trio recently toured the country as part of an unofficial Infidelity Records showcase with fellow Infidelity bands The Specimens and The Cants; overseas interest also appears to be escalating.
Like fellow Melbourne band Riff Random, The Kamikaze Trio invoke some of the 1980s post-punk sound of bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, but with a faster, rougher and fuzzier edge, and a methodical application to duty that could be compared with Fugazi (but sans the holier-than-thou straight edge-ness that can occasionally stymy Fugazi).
The opening track, "Rumblefish", sets the scene with frenetic drums, dirty guitar and a bouncing beat, washed over with some earnest vocals (though I can't discern if the song itself has any relationship with the SE Hinton teen-angst novel of the same name). "Prescription Pills" has a vague Intercontinental Playboys feel about it, though it's more beachside pub rock than voodoo inspired.
"Party" motors along via a quality fuzz introductory lick that ultimately gives way to a pounding drum rhythm and some vocal hollering (including the very attractive refrain "led it slide, let it slide like a motherfucker"), before being halted in its tracks by a rising guitar riff. "Got to Get Away" is a subtle, understated rocker with some vocal work that's a little in the pre-fame Kurt Cobain mould, but without the cigarette slacker effect that came to be Kurt's unwelcome legacy. "Coalminer's Song" has a wirey lick that brings to mind Kim Salmon as he morphed from Scientist into Surrealist sponsor, and some heavy high-hat action.
"Enemy" is my choice as the album's stand-out track – the chunky lick could be lifted straight from Digger and the Pussycats, the song itself has a thumping, jamming feel about it as the bass rumbles in the background before some Jesus and Mary Chain screaming fuzz cuts in to break the moment. After that, the relaxed pace of "Like She Said it Would" was always going to be a let down of sorts; thoughtfully the band returns to a more familiar pace with "Get it Right", which again features some wicked drumming and a Sabbath inspired guitar and drum flurry that would put plenty of contemporary rock bands to shame. The concluding track, "Make This Place Mine" has an admirable garage tone about, full of lavish amounts of fast fuzz, flurrying drums and periodic excursions into a frenetic white noised moments and a refrain ("better watch out, better watch out, better watch out") that seemed eerily reminiscent of Kenny Loggins' "Footloose" (but in a good way).
The Kamikaze Trio may not be as cataclysmic as their name suggests, but they're certainly in the business of playing things musical hard and fast. Like Richard Andrew (Registered Nurse, Crow, Black Cab, Underground Lovers), Andy Moore is fast becoming one of those drummers who can give something sensational to anything they touch. Kamikaze Trio probably don't rate quite as highly as Digger and the Pussycats, but they're worthy of serious commendation regardless. - Patrick Emery
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