Many Ways in…One Way Out - Fraudband (Kasumuen Records)
Fuckin’ five bottle feedback and dronecrush alert. Among other things.
Melbourne band Fraudband are seriously determined to get your attention. “Many Ways in…” has a great cover, good packaging, and … ah, yeah. The songs. Five bottles, Barman, did I mention..?
“Many Ways in…” is a re-recording of Fraudband’s first two EPs, neither of which I knew existed until I saw the press release. More fool me. Loki Lockwood is the dread at the production controls because he mixed them live, loved them and put himself forward.
One things more bands should do is, after they’ve released a few records and have been developing the songs further, is do what Fraudband have done here. Re-record them. This set was recorded in under a day, so you know they know what they’re doing.
I’ve put this cd to the top of the teetering pile of “for review” CDs partly out of curiosity (the Loki stain of approval is always a good sign), partly because I keep seeing sponsored ads on Fudgeybuck, and partly because the press release also explains that the band are on tour. In Europe. Right now.
So by the time they get back, you will have blasted this CD over and over in the car, you’ll be out on bail again (that old bloke should’ve jumped a little quicker), and you’ll be bringing Fraudband to your town. Why? Well, if we must do comparisons here, let’s get out the big guns.
Current comparisons to Sonic Youth are annoying; when I saw SY in ’89 two nights in a row I was very unimpressed, despite having all their LPs. Never gone back, live nor LP. I’m sure they’re lovely people, but sonically, Sonic Youth are (were) not a priority.
Fraudband are more convincing than SY. Maybe that’s me. You’ll have to find out now, won’t you?
In the very best rock tradition, Fraudband confuse the unwary listener with “Tangled Up”, with a the song sounding reluctant to get out of bed, drones and heavy sustain building to what sounds a little like second-LP era Velvets. There’s delicacy and tonality here, along with a careful, powerfully-built song.
Fraudband play, tinker, become besotted by their music. Ever hear “Faust IV’” One of my favourite LPs. I find myself wondering if Fraudband have; tho' I doubt it.
“Tangled Up’”segues into “(I’ve got an) Eastern Block” so smoothly I know I gotta see this band. There’s so much going on here, you’ll be going back over and over, hearing different things all the time, this lazy pounding in your head, the dirtsy sexsmashgasm guitars. This is fucking glorious.
“Sometimes…” opens like a Sunday gig, quiet, measured power and reflection. Islands in the sunset. Love that dirty water. Love how their songs shift and change, tempo, tunes, everything. “Sometimes…” is a gorgeous, dirty pleasure.
“Some Things Pass” starts, stops, drones, and suddenly we’re somewhere else. Surfing. On the Moon. Fraudband are shy, they don’t mention their names. The Drummer has a glorious trash 6ts sound, Loki’s really caught this. The Bass Player is perfect here, not too forward in the mix, just heaving the band along like one of those mining dump trucks all the boys want. Don’t get me started on The Guitar/s.
In a world where tedious old fuckers whine that there’s nothing out there, there’s nothing new but old stuff (before going to a nowhere rehearsal of old Stones and Creedence songs) “Come At Me” should be a reminder to shut the fuck up. Fraudband manage to mine the old, rearrange it all into a new and extraordinary vision. I know I’ve mentioned the Velvets, but they really do remind me a bit of Faust. And … Can. The latter, more so than any band I’ve ever heard (including that weird period of The Fall which sounded like a cut-up of Can and the Stooges).
“Special Time’” is grand, huge, crushing, beautiful, sweet, sweaty. Fraudband pick you up, lay you down and map you out.
The last songs are “Find Something”, “Keyed In” and “Made a Mountain” and they all swagger like the best band you’ve ever heard. As the CD ends, I hit repeat.
Boris would dig Fraudband. So would Wire.
You can dance to Fraudband, you can get completely wasted, and I expect you can drop a tab as well. My own preference to tabs was to get very slightly drunk and watch the TV snow late at night… hell, you can roll turds down the aisle at your ex’s wedding for all I care.
I’ve saved the best for last. They’re not jazz, but they eschew lyrics. You find yourself, as with the best jazz, hallucinating colours, sensations, emotions, smells, memories. Fraudband are the most purely evocative band I’ve heard in a long while, and I want to see them live. So do you.
They’re original, but the old scrotes, who’ll hear a few influences, will still love them. The young folk who don’t know Mozart from Moby will be seriously impressed. So will you.
Fraudband are a bit like where music should have gone 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 years ago. Where Fraudband will go next is anyone’s guess. One thing’s sure, there should be Loki Lockwood statues and shrines all over the country.