2005 – Independent
Alternative/ Rock/ Low-Fi/ Electronic/ Industrial/ Experimental
Australian rock outfit Star Sludge’s record 2005 begins as a brilliantly defiant fuck-you to all the hi-fi snobs of the world with its wickedly uncut rehearsal tapes of the band’s low-quality punk tunes. The guitars are loud and indistinct, the drums thrash and crash, the vocals are unintelligible, and the whole recording just keeps clipping and distorting from an overload of raw sound energy and, while you may think this would sound awful, there is something incredibly charming in how much this band clearly doesn’t give one single iota of fuck about how they sound.
I mean, tracks like Sing and Slide By Suprette just conjure up fabulous images of poor artists playing badly into their cheap eight-track tape recorder somewhere in a dingy warehouse rehearsal space, and to my mind there is something terribly romantic about all of that. I do have to wonder, however, why this presumably Australian lead singer has opted for a mangled East London accent over his own, but really this is a relatively minor issue considering how muffled the vocals are beneath all of their fuzzy, roaring instruments.
It was also nice to hear a good sense of pacing and a well considered change-up of sound with the acoustic 38 Degrees after all of the previous dirty, low-fi madness. Still raw and snarky, this track, for me, was a great way to grab my attention back to this band’s brash power after the charm of relentless tape-hiss was beginning to wear off, but the things started to get weird.
Immediately following this nice little acoustic rock tune it appears that the band made a hasty decision to fire their drummer, replace him with a drum machine, discard their punk styling, and reemerge suddenly with What’s This Mess? as a Throbbing Gristle inspired psychedelic industrial and. Now, this shift in musical direction wasn’t necessarily a bad move, but it certainly was unprecedented and I’ve got to say that it threw me more than a little.
The music from this point in the record becomes an odd mixture of highly textured electronic noises and bizarre vocal samples taken from all over the place and carefully selected for what seems to be maximum creepiness. And with creepiness as their main goal I must say that Star Sludge succeeded and then some. I mean, the ephemeral bass lines and clattering noise of Dark And Clean managed to send chills up and down my spine and the relentless paranoid throbbing of Cicadas is enough to make anyone double check the deadbolts on their doors. In fact, pretty much all of the music on this latter part of the album works very well in its atmospheric creation and it held my interest most of the way though with its ever changing focus and mod shifts, but I will say that at some points during these thirteen intentionally tuneless tracks I did struggle to keep full attention. Perhaps it was the floating synth lines, or perhaps it was the hypnotic drum loops, but after long enough these sound-scapes of madness would most likely be enough to lull any listener into a deep and disturbing slumber.
I conclusion I would have to say that 2005 is … well … interesting. There is definitely some good music on here, but I just still can’t get past the abrupt change in style. It almost felt as if I was listening to tow completely separate records which had somehow accidentally been squashed into one another. And it is primarily due to this fact that I can’t really bring myself to rate it too highly.
And here is some footage of the band performing the song ‘Slide’which also features on the record 2005.