This one has been on the high expectations list for some time. Ever since Melbourne trio Cable Ties’ first single rolled my way, I’ve been eager for an album and now it arrives via Aussie Indie Poison City. Anchored by both sides of the debut single, and augmented with a full batch of equally acerbic cuts, the record makes good on the promises that Jenny McKechnie and crew dropped in the run up. Built around a taught brand of post-punk that’s seething with tension in a way that brings to mind fellow Aussie luminaries Eddie Current Suppression Ring, the band pushes punk past its compact aspirations and into a grinding, chugging assault that ropes a bit of Krautrock to the sound.
The absolute focus, though, remains McKechnie’s voice, which warbles somewhere between Poly Styrene’s sonic assault and Corrine Tucker’s barbed wail. As they build and snap songs into a writhing pile of tension, the anticipation lies not in waiting for the hook, but for the moment that McKechnie lets the floodgates loose. Her songs tend to put their topics in the crosshairs. She’s not one to pine, swoon or ponder — far from it. Creepy dudes, music snobs and money-grubbing shills all get their due and one has to feel a bit sorry for them. Being on the receiving end of McKechnie’s atomic blast would strip the paint off of a resilient subject, let alone such simpering fools.
At a mere eight tracks, the album feels like its just hitting the tip of what the band have ready for the world. Paul Maybury’s production posits it as brittle and bracing, a bare canvas that befits the songs and their makers. It’s the kind of debut that hits like a gut punch hurricane, scattering any other fledgling contenders to the winds and leaving listeners in awe of what just transpired. They’re still young though, they’ve got the angst and a conduit to blow. I’m looking forward to where they take it, but enjoying the ride for now.
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