East Brunswick All Girls Choir - Teddywaddy
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Melborne, Australia became a musical wellspring during the 2010s, with Jen Cloher and Courtney Barnett's Milk! Records backing its fair share of talent. Amidst their ranks, East Brunswick All Girls Choir have proven, over one EP and their debut long-player, Seven Drummers, that while their particular brand of intensely delivered noise rock evokes fellow Australians the Drones, it's also exhilaratingly unique to them. Their sophomore effort, Teddywaddy, demonstrates further that their imagination and passion run deep.
"Steeple People" opens the record with the dispiriting claim "I'm fresh out of ideas." Nevertheless, woozy guitar lines, menacing bass notes, and Marcus Hobbs' anguished, cracked yowl make for a bracing opening -- even by their standards -- and one that renders the frontman's assertion hard to believe. EBAGC consistently tread a precarious line that feels like the whole thing might fall to pieces at any given moment, producing a consistently heart-quickening listen. With "Essendon 1986," the rhythm section drives this fevered tale while circling guitar feedback heightens the drama, and "Dog FM" features crashing percussion that breaks the opening's gentle spell, transforming it into a bluesy punk nugget. The tumbling chaos of "Cicada Chirps the Chicane" illustrates just quite how refreshing it is to hear music that is clearly so earnestly felt.
The band does dial down the frenzied pitch on several occasions throughout the record, including the balmy interlude "Leave the City." Even so, it builds to a giddy conclusion, and while "Exile Spree" rests on countrified guitar twangs, and finds Hobbs at his most tender and aching, it leaves its mark as much as the heavier tracks imprint themselves. Over the course of the record, each song provokes the nervous system in a multitude of ways.
Teddywaddy perhaps loses a little of its incendiary power as the record progresses, but such sustained intensity would likely prove too much. The album stands as testament to the fact that no one sounds quite like East Brunswick All Girls Choir. Despite their protestation to the contrary, they are far from low on ideas, added to which they bleed passion -- a genuine and sincere attribute often in short supply.