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In the midst of many musical re-formations, one scene that has yet to revive itself is the late nineties Australian rock crowd, which was a time when the local band circuit was at its strongest. Maybe the re-launch of Jebediah will bring about this second coming? Another step in that direction is a new record from Sydney’s Front End Loader, who we have not heard from since their last release, 2008’s ‘Laughing With Knives.’ Returning with their sixth studio album, ‘Ritardando,’ the group are sticking to what they know and pumping out some good old rock n’ roll.
Opening track But Before I Do, explodes out of the gate with big rock riffs and attacking vocals, followed by the fast paced Bury Your Dead, Mademoiselle. Compared to past efforts, which have been pretty standard radio rock tracks, it seems the band have taken a heavier route, trading their normal song structures for a tweaked, off kilter version of themselves. The theatrical Decisions, Decisions, Decisions is a good example of this with its stabbing guitars and Queen like falsetto attempts.
The records first single Bring It On, is a highlight, with an 80’s glam metal feel about it, the song has a playful tone in its simplicity. There are no token acoustic numbers or real deviations from the heavy rocking which is both a good and a bad thing.
One of the most energetic moments is The Duality Of Man, a soaring punk song that shows the band haven’t slowed down at all. The record ends with the bass opened The Anger Dollar, another quirky rock track that has a dark tone and one of the finer vocal performances on the album.
Front End Loader are certainly their own band and have stayed true to their style over the years. ‘Ritardando’ isn’t the type of record that would have “fit in” back in the band’s heyday, nor is it really full of currently relevant music for today. While it won’t bring back the great pub rock bands of old it is a great little offering from a solid band who just do what they do.
1. But Before I Do
2. Bry Yoru Dead, Mademoiselle
4. Bring It On
5. Once Again
6. Lily White
7. The Duality Of Man
8. I Like To Help Out Where I Can
9. Bronzed Up
11. My Other Pants
12. Tool For A Tool
13. The Anger Dollar