Reviews

Published on April 11th, 2006 | by Hans Fruck

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Oneironaut — Pure Through Evolution

Oneironaut_-_Pure_Through_Evolution.thumbnailIf post rock is your thing, then Melbourne four piece Oneironaut’s latest LP, Pure Through Evolution, ought to be a natural selection.

Although only an eight-tracker, Pure Through Evolution weighs in at a relatively beefy 48 minutes. This means the band can gradually unfurl each track, which, as with much post rock, omits the verse-chorus-verse straightjacket of conventional rock ‘n’ roll.

This generous running time is just as well, perhaps, because over the course of the CD the band deploys instruments as diverse as glockenspiel, theremin, trombone, piano, cello, and violin – in addition to the rock staples of guitars and drums.

Nowhere is the payoff for this instrumental diversity more evident than in Icon, a track that starts off with a catchy guitar, cool beat, chiming glockenspiel, and the mysterious sound of trickling water – all way cool – but then morphs into something surprising and ambitious when operatic vocals followed by drums and by guitars about as raw as a cheesegrater on granite enter the fray. It’s the kind of thing that’ll make you take your eyes off the traffic lights (driver of the grey Toyota Camry? Sorry ’bout that, man!) just to commune with the tune.

No sooner is Icon over – and your eyes are back on the traffic lights, and drivers of grey Toyota Camrys think it’s safe to venture back onto the road – than you’re hit right between the eyes by the CD’s other kickarse track, Seven of Eleven. Think International Karate meets Mogwai meets Mushroom Giant. There’s no trickling water and no operatic vocals, but there are drums and tight, tight guitars counterpointing delicate string action.

The other tracks don’t pack the same punch. The moaning vocals on the opener, Alan Smithee, are an example of vocals-as-instrument, the spoken vocals on Ex-Patriot are a welcome tempo change, and Simple Physics is a 10-minute epic.

But after Icon and Seven of Eleven, it’s hard not to be a little disappointed with the rest of Pure Through Evolution. Highly evolved this CD may be, but it’s still some way from the top of the food chain.

— Hans Fruck


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