Eight years, four lads, three studio albums, dozens of seven-inch singles and a partridge in a pear tree. Melbourne’s Eddy Current Suppression Ring are prolific as f**k, having cranked out a ring of fiery tunes. Well, “ring” is a bit too organised, it’s been more like a ramshackle mess from these rebel rousers.
So Many Things sees 22 songs from out-of-print singles to non-album rarities combined into one chaotic set. The group may be known for their punk and garage rock music but this collection is actually like the musical equivalent of trawling through someone’s garage or shed. Look and you’ll find the records that no one remembers buying, the once-used exercise equipment and the good ol’ kiddie pool.
It’s jagged and not the most cohesive listen but it does allow fans – particularly those that are hardcore and completist ones – to have things in one handy place. It allows you to pause and reflect over the band’s output and because the tracks are in chronological order you can see how their sound was built to become the melodic rush and enthusiastic punches in the gut for which they are now known. Heck, if there was ever music that could bite, scratch, scream and shout its way out of some busted speakers than you’ll be sure that Eddy Current Suppression Ring are responsible.
The story goes that the band formed in 2003 thanks to a work Christmas party. They were employed at a vinyl pressing plant (how cool and rock ‘n’ roll is that?) and their impromptu jam saw the birth of the opener and title track. It’s a mostly spoken, bile-infused poison pen to an ex-lover and it brims with fuzz. Their first single, “Get Up Morning” would showcase music that sounds like the Buzzcocks going surfing. These two cuts would set the blueprint for what was to come with no less than an Australian Music Prize to follow.
The common thread amongst the 22 numbers is the vocals of Brendan Suppression. They sit somewhere between Mick Jagger’s brusque snarl and the spoken word rants and sneer for which The Fall’s Mark E. Smith is popular and there’s no denying that this adds an extra element to the energetic and obnoxious, punk rock feel. There are also plenty of crunchy junk guitars, beefy riffs and thudding drums. Like youngsters, Step-Panther and Straight Arrows, this group aren’t trying too hard, yet their sloppiness yields primal and reckless music that is like some good, nay great fireballs of energy.
There are three covers including The Pagans’ “Boy, Can I Dance Good,” The Chosen Few’s “T.A.L.O.I.G.A” and The Go-Gos’ “We Got The Beat”. In the latter they all sound like The Stooges having “No Fun” even though they are having – ahem – a very good time. There’s also the raw, buzzy riffs on the former track which sounds like some Warsaw-era Joy Division while “I’m Guilty” is just plain skittish. On “Noise In My Head” the group sound like The Stones and “We’ll Be Turned On” boasts some groovy-baby organ that squeals emphatically. The guys also find the time to put in some political digs at war in “Iraq (It’s On The Map)” and a garage and surf-fuelled ode to construction workers on “Wet Cement”.
Eddy Current Suppression Ring are currently on hiatus while various members pursue different side-projects. Thankfully, this bits and bobs set of heaving numbers will sate listener’s needs for reckless fun and their appetites for destructive music at ear-bleeding volumes (that is, until new material is forthcoming). While the quartet’s albums make for a better introduction to the group, there is no denying that this set has a little something for everyone. Because with 22 feisty, confident and raucous songs, once you plug in you’ll soon discover that Eddy Current Suppression Ring offer so many things indeed.
Originally published on 6 January 2012 at the following website: http://www.thedwarf.com.au/nd/albumreviews/so_many_things_eddy_current_suppression_ring
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