THE SHIFTERS are a quintet from Melbourne, who after two 7” singles and demo tape, just unveiled their first proper full-length album entitled ‘Have a Cunning Plan’ (Trouble In Mind). Recorded at Al Montfort of Total Control/Terry’s home studio, ‘Have A Cunning Plan’ ups the fidelity a bit, tempering the up-front crunch of their previous demo. The sonic space suits the band, allowing the unpretentious complexity of the songs & lyrics to generate the “oomph” rather than bludgeoning the listener with treble and feedback. The album showcases ten new tracks by the band at their best; scrappy, self-destructive, stumbling and brilliant pop music that seems tossed off or nonchalant on the surface but is rife with rewards upon further listening. Early album bangers like “Molasses” and the first single “Work/Life, Gym Etc” are instant earworms, (as are “Straight Lines” & “Pyramid Scheme”, the latter reworked from a recent 7-inch) but it’s the simple-yet-sophisticated songcraft of tunes like “How Long?” or the languid strum of “Andrew Bolt” that are heavy on mood and are vehicles for vocalist/guitarist Miles Jansen’s erudite lyrics that simultaneously celebrate and decry the banality of life, while also tackling larger issues of colonialism conservatism’s effects on society at large. On the surface, there’s no denying the band owe a heavy debt to The Fall, but whatever seeds were planted by the late, great Mark E. Smith, have gestated into an animal all their own. ‘Have A Cunning Plan’ aims to take them towards a greater plane.
DRY CLEANING are a south London quartet who carve out vast post punk canyons with a dry, narrative-driven vocal. You can hear the everyday collide with the profound in their songs, which are as insightful and acutely honest as they are highly catchy. Check out their ‘Sweet Princess’ tape right now!
THE COOL GREENHOUSE make lo-fi, repetitive post-punk with a social conscience. Their debut 7” on Market Square is a treat of elusive DIY moves and sarcastic wit. Very reminiscent of the early 80s post-punk cassette scene and messthetics compilation groups.