Before Before – Infinity Broke (Luke Come to the Dark Side)
One thing about being a reviewer, apart from the teetering pile of CDs getting in the way of real life, is that you encounter bands you probably would never go near.
La Bastard is such a great name for a band that, if you were schlepping past a pub on the way to nowhere in particular (as so many of us are) and you saw that a band called La Bastard were playing, you’d stop dead, turn and walk right in. No question. If you instead saw an Aussie band named “Infinity Broke”, you probably wouldn’t.
I confess, while the concept is actually quite brilliant, the name does seem a little clunky. Mind you, initially, the band name The Police was both awful and brilliant at the same time (think of all the free advertising all over the English-speaking world, but also think of all the bad publicity…); now, of course, The Police is synonymous with a period of music (and horrid misogyny) we’d prefer not to be reminded of, thanks.
Yes, there’s an information sheet on the band, but frankly … let’s let the music speak for them. After all, info sheets are only there to make the clueless journo sound clever, well-informed and smug.
If I was going to compare this band to anyone, it’d be a bit of a shit-fight. The opener, “Famine of Words”, reminds me straight away of that first Dream Syndicate LP from the early ‘80s; certainly that floating, splintery guitar comes out. And Infinity Broke is a strange band, having forked out for the disc to be mastered in Arizona (er, in the USA).
One of the things I like is the two Hutchings brothers’ guitars working together (Jamie of Bluebottle Kiss fame leads Infinity Broke whose ranks include bro’ Scott.) That kind of familial bond can often lift a band to places where one brother alone simply cannot go. I wouldn’t say they’re a ‘twin guitar assault’ outfit, more like a ‘twin guitar cult’. Yeah, they’re really that extraordinary.
Infinity Broke is an uplifting band; perfectly chosen harmonies and backing vocals bring the whole thing up into the stratosphere, ropes and nets of wonderfully controlled feedback like surf on a beach. Alberts or Sony should be cosying up to these boys.
The improbably titled “Only the Desert Grows” is one of those superb wig-outs which float, descend and rip like eagles.
I’ve heard “Before Before” several times now, and it’s perfect for the car. As well as the living room. You won’t be bounding around the room, perhaps, but you’ll stop what you’re doing, the jam sliding off your toast onto the baby or cat beneath. Or both.
“Cinder Borne” kinda reminds me of N*****a, but as I seem to be one of the only people who thought they were merely an okey-dokey pop band with a slightly rough edge, I may be outvoted. Anyway, Cinder Borne eclipses the Cobainisch by a considerable degree. See, the controlled punch is there, and the understated beauty, the occasional deliberate feedback, the masterly build-up (that’s really hard to do, by the by), the lost love pop sensibility slotted into a modern context.
Infinity Broke are one of those guitar bands you’d love; I want to see this band, see just how they bend and twist things around, how they lift and lower their hovering savagery and turn it into beauty. There’s no bullshit egocentric nonsense on here, just four men contributing to each song and making better than it has any right to be.
By the time the fourth song rolls around, “Papa was a Clown”, we’re absolutely sucked in. Because now the lp changes direction, adopting another direction in such an easy way that … well, it’s a bit like being swept off the Darlinghurst street and plunked into somewhere in, say, a late 6ts London club to see the newest developments. Infinity Broke really are that interesting, you don’t really know where they’ll take you, but you’ll be delighted and excited by the result.
“Domestix” is next, an abstract but visceral soundtrack to domestic life - with all that horrible disturbance which we’re so familiar. “Domestix” serves as an extended introduction to the sixth song, “Dogfall”, a heavy-as-shit ballad which reminds me a tad of Adelaide’s Leather Messiah. “Dogfall” is a fine, fine moment, soaring, pouring, bleeding and scouring.
Again, that’s where I’ll leave you. “Before Before” is a fucking amazing LP, filled with the most extraordinary directions and intent. Apart from creating a huge urge within me to see what these blokes are like live, “Before Before” is one of those albums I’ll be playing for years to come.