Dion Lunadon - Dion Lunadon (Agitated Records)
If you hear a noisier, more brutal yet musical album this year, call your lawyer and sue Mitsubishi for opening a car plant in your backyard.
Dion Lunadon used to be Dion Palmer, bassist for New Zealand-via-The-Lower-East-Side rockers The D4 back in the 1990s. He’s been living in New York City for the last 10 years, playing bass for abrasive noise merchants, A Place To Bury Strangers (APTBS). This eponymous LP is his first solo venture.
There are elements of Kraut rock, hard rock, noise rock, psychedelic rock and almost everything that can be appended to rock on this record. It’s full of ideas to the point of near overload. Apparently written as a cathartic release after rigorous touring with APTBS, it reeks of grime, sweat , post-road angst and not a little desperation.
Lunadon plays most of the instruments, with some occasional external help. Lunadon also vocalises. Now, that’s a deceptively simple statement of fact. More accurately, he howls, croons, wails and rants.
And the songs? Eleven of them, each as different as the other.
The vaguely rockabilly “Ripper” is stripped barer than a Sub-Saharan scarecrow, greasy harmonica blaring through a watery mix. The breathless “White Fence” barrels along on a nagging “Secret Agent Man” guitar figure before an abstract lead-break tears its way through.
“Insurance, Rent and Taxes” opens the album with a clanging backbeat and dense, industrial wall of guitars. Lunadon’s vocal struggles through the mix and its a bracing burst of punk, barely topping the one-minute mark.
A wall of synth and fractured guitar defines the Germanic “Fire” while “Com/Broke” walks in the footsteps of Australia’s own X. The same could be said for “Move” and the primal “Howl”. Perhaps the prominent red X on the wall in the cover photo isn’t an accident.
The harrowing “Reduction Agent” flicks the switch to images of road weariness and “the mark of death”, a swinging beat anchoring gated vocals and scratchy guitar. “Hanging By a Thread” sounds like it is, a busy and harsh instrumental, save for the singer intoning the title in the outro, propelled by Lunadon’s exemplary bass-lines.
The moody, chaotic closer “No Control” draws a dark curtain over the album, swirling noisescapes punctuating a trudging bottom end.
In years to come, this LP will be a noisenik’s collector’s item, so get looking for a copy before you have to make do with a download.