Herald rating: * * * *
Review: Russell Baillie
For my money, the Subliminals' Crystal Chain EP of last year was the most alarmingly good thing the seemingly resurgent Flying Nun label had put out in quite some time.
Now here comes the debut album by the band, which has a slight local alt-rock supergroup status, care of its line-up including Simon Maclaren, the former frontman-guitarist of Loves Ugly Children and drummer Brendan Moran of the Hasselhoff Experiment, along with Steve Reay and Jared Johnson.
Together, they've created a multi-hyphenate sound which requires prefixes like "space," "kraut," "drone," "art" and other rock crit-grasping-at-straws throughout their 11 tracks.
I'll say this though, the Subliminals do make an expansive, exciting racket where guitars can turn from paintbrushes to blow torches and back, and the rhythm section throbs at all sorts of odd angles.
Through all that, vocals become something of an afterthought. When they aren't, it is easy to make comparisons with their Nun elders - the power-surge of Uh-Oh sounds like the 3Ds doing weird things to an old Doors song; the belligerent Camera Eye has faint if high-decibel echoes of the Skeptics.
Add the quiet bits, like the gently undulating guitars of Distance and the shimmering finale, Close Your Eyes, and it makes for an album that neatly capitalises on the promise of that earlier release.
And on the evidence of this live - as they are at the Kings Arms tonight - the Subliminals should prove a real mindbender.