Ausmuteants - Band Of The Future

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Australia's Ausmuteants sound like they could very well have been the Band of the Future in 1977, which makes the title of their fourth album all the more amusing in 2016. In the late '70s, these guys could have been part of a dream bill with Devo and the Screamers, and would have left the Units in the dust in a Battle of the Bands. However, if their music pays clear homage to their influences, the tunes, the energy, and Jake Robertson's blurting vocals and petulant lyrics are very much their own. And Ausmuteants are also getting better: Band of the Future finds them sounding tighter and better focused than ever before, bringing back a good bit of the energy that was lost in the increased clarity of Order of Operation, and generally learning to walk an effective middle ground between full-on noisemaking and making their approach work in the studio. There's something approaching a swing in Ausmuteants' herky-jerky rhythms, and if their melodic hooks are getting more angular all the time, they still work, and these songs have a weird beat you can still dance to. The keyboards expectedly play a major role in their synth punk-inspired attack, but they also understand the importance of the electric guitar, and the back-and-forth between the instruments on Band of the Future is genuinely exciting and fun. And if "Music Writers" and "BOTF" suggest Ausmuteants aren't the least bit interested in being the darlings of the music press, as long as they keep making albums as good as Band of the Future, it's something they may to get used to -- this album is a great, wild ride and their best work to date.

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