Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Stevens: A History Of Hygiene

What an album! 24 songs over 2 sides, many punching in and out at around the minute mark, with the crunch of Wire and the shitgaze zip of Times New Viking. In its controlled chaos, roughouse riffs and goofy titles (Skeleton Vs Silicon or Blind In One Ear anyone?) A History of Hygiene draws on the highpoint of the last 20 years of DIY, Guided By Voices' Bee Thousand.

This record has it all - punk rock, pop and psychedelia - and in Challenger a song that really sounds like it should've been on Bee Thousand. Yeah, that good.

Then there's the weird vocal and lyrical detachment rubbing against the musical explosion. Take the start of Red Ribbon: "I saw a picture of a dead girl/I didn't mind". How's that for an opening line.

And then there's the bass line in Scared of Other Men, which sounds the same as Standard Fare's Crystal Palatial. Maybe it's a co-incidence, but The Stevens sound like they're keeping good company. Of course they are, they're from Melbourne which is showing no sign of letting up as a nursery for many of the world's most exciting bands.

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