GOLD CLASS ‘Drum’ (Felte)
Here is a fine album that’s completely out of time and place. If Drum has been released on a British label in 2006, in the same maelstrom that propelled Bloc Party, Maximo Park and The Futureheads to fleeting stardom on the back of renewed fascination with Gang Of Four and Joy Division, it would have made a lot of sense. That this metallic throbbing of post-punk sturm und drang has coalesced in 2017 Melbourne is one of life’s quirks.
Formed in 2014, the quartet have expanded on the wiry punk that characterised their debut album It’s You. The primary emotional drive here is the singer/lyricist Adam Curley, who delivers his anguish as directly and nakedly as possible. He’s the sort of chap that writes an ‘artist statement’: “I wanted it to be a record of defiance, a resistance to the idea of scrambling for a place at a table that wasn’t set for you. A sort of a love letter to anyone who not only can’t meet the standard but doesn’t want to”. If you put aside the whiff of earnestness that such moments reveal then this is a tidy album of taut driving basslines and Curley’s booming authentic rage at contemporary aggressive shit-kicking Australian culture. He reminds one of a nonconformist figurehead like Glasvegas’ James Allen, or perhaps fellow Ozzie contrarian Peter Garrett. Or even Morrissey, if he hadn’t been in denial for so long.
The brutal dissemination of his fellow man on the likes of ‘Bully’, with its illusions to childhood beatings, is starkly traumatic. Settle on the fragmentary lyrics for too long and it’s easy to get lost in the dark spaces that flash by. The melancholy dripping from the guitar on ‘Trouble Fun’ can overwhelm when it refracts a certain mood. And let’s face it, not much music in these shiny-happy-Instagram times can genuinely do that. There is fun, of sorts, to be had on occasion, as opener ‘Twist In The Dark’ attests to, or within the “barricades and Ecstasy” of the anthemic-sounding ‘Rose Blind’. The album never really veers musically away from that urgent, naked, minor-key thrashy post-punk rumble that will probably have it dismissed by the mainstream as ‘throwback’. Putting aside your discriminatory barriers though, and opening yourself up enough to let these ten tracks work their magic is a rewarding undertaking.
Curley suggests “maybe I was trying to come to some peace with the past and to stand up and find some agency in the present. I suppose it was the most defiant thing I could think to do”. Agency and defiance are certainly the watchwords of Drum. Who knows, Gold Class might just become the savage messiah's to define our emotionally austere times.
Gold Class dates in Europe:
18/09 Paris, FR @ Le Pop Up du Label
20-23/09 Hamburg, DE @ Reeperbahn Festival
23/09 Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso Noord
25/09 Brighton UK @ The Joker
26/09 London, UK @ Moth Club
BY PHIL ISTINE
A blog to pontificate upon music both new and old: mostly reviews, some news, interviews, thought pieces, and exclusive content.