It’s been 14 years between drinks and life just happened as these musicians were busy making other plans. But Underground Lovers’ latest album, Weekend is the much-anticipated follow-up to 1999’s Cold Feeling. The seventh record from Australia’s finest alt-rock-via-shoegaze group boasts fresh rhythms; some finger-snapping, hypnotic beats; and a pure pop sensibility. It often means that it could hold its own amongst the music they produced in their nineties hey day.
Weekend is a busy album that takes its name from the 1967 film by Jean Luc-Godard. The band were previously influenced by British acts like Joy Division, The Cure and New Order (to the point where they were often assumed to be from the UK). While these influences can still be heard in 2013, it seems these ten songs boast additional flavours like: sixties jangly pop, electro blips and assorted nineties grunge. It also means that multiple listens will yield different things, meaning they occasionally sound closer to The Church or some young Americans than their broody, English forefathers.
“Can For Now” is an excellent song filled with some awesome Sonic Youth guitars, groovy bass lines and some spaced-out synths. At four-and-a-half minutes, there is bound to be at least one time where you’ll wanna kick down some doors and dance. But then they venture off with some rather different-sounding guitar riffs on “Riding”, where it’s all about a swirling bounce and things glistening like summer rain.
The Glove springs to mind in “Spaces” where Philippa Nihill takes over lead vocals for music that’s just like the child of The Pixies mixed with stuff from another galaxy. Some of these nuanced, astral peaks are also found on “Haunted [Acedia]” but this track is all about the ghosts of those partners past that still inhabit the dark recesses in your mind. It certainly does as the packet describes, while “Signs Of Weakness” sounds like a group they’ll soon be supporting, the Happy Mondays.
Underground Lovers were always a band that found the right balance between personal expression and creative experimentation or crafting great walls of atmospherics through the appropriate use of sound, volume, distortion, feedback and the like. This mix has now been expanded to incorporate some more electronic elements. But this has not been at the expense of the great indie music from before and it’s fair to say that the band is stronger for it.
For Weekend, The Undies once again enlisted long-time collaborators like Wayne Connolly and Tim Whitten and it’s a formula that works. The sextet may be a little older and wiser but their music is as fresh and crisp as a cleanly ironed, white shirt.
Dinosaur Jr. proved that you can make a good comeback album (hello to 2007’s Beyond). And so these guys have also shown that their weekend can be filled with party-popping fun; self-deprecation; human elements and observations; and some good, angular tunes which begs the question, “What is 14 years between friends anyway?”
Originally published on 5 April 2013 at the following website: http://thedwarf.com.au/album_review/underground-lovers-weekend
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