Perennial favorite Wireheads are back on the scene with a third record, again for Aussie imprint Tenth Court, and its great to hear their caustic post-punk mature. The Adelaide band’s debut was ragged and unapologetic in its delivery, little wonder that I’d named it one of the great overlooked records of the last ten years. On their third record they ditch the alt pedigree of Calvin Johnson’s Dub Narcotic for homeland sessions that pull in just about everyone that they know. Driving force, Dom Trimboli sketched out the songs and invited friends into the sessions to help flesh them out, resulting in a roster of 20 musicians that includes members of Brisbane’s Bent, Sydney poppers Day Ravies, kindred spirits Bitch Prefect plus Fair Maiden, Men With Chips and The High Beamers. For the most part this ends up bleeding in a bit of beauty to Wireheads’ usual lemon in the wound attack. There’s a loose nature to the album, but strangely it results in some of the band’s most pop moments. The ravaged swagger of “Dedication”, the dark country shuffle of “Proserpina,” the psych pop warble of “Isabella Says” and the last-call balladry of “Banana Fish” all feel like leaps from their chewed wire beginnings.
As the album unfolds there are still a few moments of the band’s squall’s – sax skronk ripping like an inter tube in distress, violin howling at the wind – but for the most part the mixed company seems to have taken them in new directions and those chances pay off. For a lot of bands, tempering their sound usually means losing a bit of vitality, but there’s little anyone could do to sand down the edges of Trimboli’s vocal bite. When he’s singing, its a Wireheads song; doesn’t matter if there are strums or saw tooth licks, the impact hits you just the same. Three albums on the band is still one of the most interesting kicking around guitar rock these days and Arrive Alive stands to prove it.
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