Saturday, 24 July 2010

Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Rush to Relax

Melbourne garage rockers Eddy Current Suppression Ring released their third album Rush to Relax in the UK this week. Despite achieving a level of recognition, and garnering plenty of critical acclaim, in their native Australia, Eddy Current Suppression Ring aren't well known in these parts. Rush to Relax is unlikely to be troubling the upper reaches of the charts on these shores, but I for one was delighted when I heard that Manchester record label Melodic were giving the album a proper release.

Much has been made of the fact that Eddy Current Suppression Ring (ECSR from here on in) are a such an Australian band, and it is with good reason. Lead singer Brendan Suppression's vocals are always delivered in a broad, distinctive Australian drawl, but it goes deeper than just accents. ECSR's major influences might be American garage rockers (think Stooges, MC5, etc) but the band gives them a typically relaxed Antipodean twist. Rush to Relax is a case in point, the band recorded it all in around six hours, usually using the first or second take of each song in an attempt to capture the energy of the performance. It's an incredibly casual approach, and a risky one too, which lays the band open to accusations of laziness if the album isn't up to scratch.

High Points

Opening track 'Anxiety' is a real tour de force, which goes a long way to vindicating the recording methods. It kicks in with a really catchy hook, and Brendan yelping about anxiety that has him "biting his nails" and "grinding his teeth", and builds in to a glorious cacophony of chainsaw guitars and loose bass.

Elsewhere Rush to Relax is an album of extremes; there are the short punky outbursts like 'Isn't It Nice' and the brilliantly barmy 'Walked Into A Corner', both under 90 seconds in length, and then there are the strung out Krautrock influenced tracks like 'Tuning Out' and 'Second Guessing' which weigh in at over 6 minutes each.

The Verdict

There's a bit of a split personalities thing going on here, but it works better than you might expect. ECSR are more than capable of covering both styles, both extremes. As for the question of the recording methods used on this album, I felt that the stripped down production allowed the album to capture the raw energy of the band's performance, giving it all the immediacy of a live show, just without the warm beer and sweaty mosh-pit. And that has to be a good thing.

Final Score: 82%


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