One time, while performing an uninteresting task on my laptop, I knocked a full glass of cider onto my keyboard. Cue furious swearing as the screen became to random coloured lines and the Los Campesinos track that had been playing sped up to double it’s original speed. The speakers started buzzing alarmingly before gradually dissolving into blasts of static, followed by a sinister silence. Listening to the debut EP from Australian noise-surf-jazz-rock trio Atrabillions was something like reliving that traumatic experience. In the best possible way.
Sky Carpets is abrasive, complex, layered and quite possibly crazy. Each track is an odyssey that travels from groove to groove via tumbling, chaotic interludes and walls of noise. Atrabillions really show off their proficiency as a group and as individual performers – ‘Hungry Like Ted Bundy’ howls out of the speakers in a blizzard of piano keys and drum strikes before dissolving neatly into something distinctly salsa sounding for a second, before it leaps on to another musical idea.
Brendan Jordans’ keys are at the centre holding the whole affair together much of the time, but there are some sections, like the second half of ‘Night Vision Romance’, where they stand out. The track repeatedly builds layer upon layer of noise before falling back to the dark piano line. Guitar sounds and noise provided, by Andrew Formica, often hover in the background and swirl around the piano line, but they occasionally batters their way into the forefront of the musical melee to wail out of the speakers. The drumming is super tight and always interesting, and the vocals alternate between sinisterly ethereal crooning and anguished howls.
If you’re looking for an agile, aggressive, fuzzy EP that expertly balances noise and technicality, check this one out. Fans of Rolo Tomassi especially should give this one a listen.
Progressive, Noise Rock, Jazz, Experimental, Ethereal, Dark