Album Review by Mark Bayross
Aussie indie faves Gerling release this, their debut album, having created a fair amount of interest following support slots for various lo-fi heroes and their debut EP DEATH TO THE APPLE GERLS and follow-up single ENTER, SPACE CAPSULE. When I reviewed “Death…”, I remarked that this album ought to be interesting. Well, it is, but in a predictable kind of way.
A mish-mash of bleepy minimalist electronics and jangly off-kilter guitars hardly raises CHILDREN OF TELEPATHIC EXPERIENCES into the realms of ground-breaking originality, but they seem to be trying so hard to be innovative. At least they’re trying, but I am beginning to find the idiosyncrasies pioneered by Pavement ten years ago (flat vocals, kerray-zee song titles) a bit wearing.
The tracks alternate between the aforementioned two musical treatments: shouty/whiny-vocalled guitar-fest following chilled-out loop-filled track, ad infinitum. The electronic tracks mainly exist as filler between the guitar-based songs, although there is the odd jangly instrumental to be found here too (“meet you @ karate”).
Besides the two aforementioned singles, there is the odd blast of Sonic Youth-style noise to engage the interest (the energetic, chunky CRAFT WERKED; the drum-heavy DESTRUCTOR 4000), along with the occasional inspired intro (the trumpets and children singing at the start of SUBURBAN JUNGLE SLEEPING BAG). However, the “just play around with the dials” randomness of tracks like “Ö GENIUS FIGHT tries the patience just a bit too much.
Gerling really pull out the weird stops towards the end: BACHELOR PAD breaks some kind of mould by existing across two tracks, the second of which is a faster, janglier instrumental version of the first. LINSKY is a 60 second prank phone call, while the penultimate track, four minutes of looped bass-heavy burbling, has the honour of being adorned with the stupidest title of the bunch (“a student eating sushi with a chimp on a glass island” – oh, tres avant garde).
The album ends well, with a remix of ENTER, SPACE CAPSULE, which, while as plinky-plonky as the rest of the album, is both melodic and danceable, sounding a bit like Kraftwerk covering Saint Etienne. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough coherence or melody to keep bringing you back to the album as a whole. More to the point, considering how original they are trying to be, there isn’t enough variety here.
For all the wacky song titles and silly instruments listed on the album sleeve, Gerling haven’t pushed the boat out far enough – they sound like an inexperienced band pissing around with a pile of dodgy second-hand equipment. Which I guess they are. Not bad, but could do better.