For Fans Of
The ascent of bands like your Violent Soho’s and your Tame Impala’s turned the Australian public eye back onto rock and guitar-driven music in a lot of ways. In the kind of way that arguably hadn’t been seen in Australia since older groups like Eskimo Joe were on high rotation on commercial radio; opening up the doors for countless other ‘guitar bands’ out there to latch onto the hope of bringing fuzz, distortion and a good ol’ fashioned riff to the ears of the masses.
Enter Siamese, a South Australian rock quartet that’s having a red hot go at latching onto the still solidly travelling wave of grunge-indie sound with their debut EP, ‘Code One‘. Across these five new tracks, we find a band that have realised that it’s more than possible to be ‘artfully messy’, casting aside perceived technical ability and melodic accessibility for something harsher and more ‘working class.’ Opening cut ‘Slaughterhouse‘ captures this aesthetic perfectly so, dressing a reflective and sad pop song up with washes of reverb and washed-out cymbal crashes, much like their no doubt influences in Mudhoney, Nirvana & the aforementioned Violent Soho.
To successfully deliver a new-wave grunge record nowadays there needs to be both carefully controlled simplicity and infectiously anthemic hooks. And ‘Computer Patient‘ ticks this box massively, throwing up a chorus that bolsters the main riff with a waterfall of bass and drums; producing the carefully curated song-writing that can easily be re-created in a garage, with an addictive melody in tow.
The most exciting thing about ‘Code One‘, however, isn’t just the big hooks or the headbanging-but-also-shoegazey-riffs, but, as the final song of the EP is helpfully titled, the clear ‘No Room To Grow‘ that Siamese is giving themselves. The song in question is an 8-minute slow-burning epic that captures the monotonous ‘sameness’ that the band speak well into, mixed with singer Tom Matheson’s cynical snarling topping off a dynamic and controlled fuzz-rock gem. Meanwhile, dark horse ‘Lush Life’ throws up a 70’s surf-riff and mixes it with an odd-meter drum groove that never quite settles, giving the entire thing a real sense of nervous unease.
Comparisons can and will be drawn across the board here with ‘Code One‘. From Chevelle to Bass Drum of Death and Smashing Pumpkins, there is all manner of mixtures from the sad, the upbeat, the snarky, the hooky, and the energetic lo-fi crammed into this new disc. Sure, it’d be great to hear Matheson’s vocals brought out more clearly by the mix and more of the harmonies that appear fleetingly in the chorus of ‘Lush Life‘ as well. Such extra little sprinkles would help this release to stand out from the inevitable comparisons that’ll be drawn between it and fellow Adelaide alternative natives, Horror, My Friend. Despite this, though, the amount of dynamic variation, psychedelic brush-strokes and pop hooks create for an impressive debut from a band that are flying the flag for the often overlooked but by no means non-relevant Adelaide rock scene.
To stay alive and afloat, the Australian new-wave punk/grunge scene needs a fresh injection of ideas to prevent it from going ‘off’. With ‘Code One’ achieves this; mixing some of the best parts of pop and rock & roll together, creating a beautifully ugly collection of songs in the process. With their new EP, Siamese really have proved that it’s still cool to wear a flannelette, play your bass low, and make as much noise as you can.
- Computer Patient
- Lush Life
- No Room To Grow
‘Code One’ is out Friday, March 9th via Swirl Records.