New kids on the post-punk dream-pop rock block, Contrast, have just thrown down a heavy hitting debut EP on the back of their latest single Pipe Dreams. Whilst taking on plenty of influences, they’re KO’ing the shoegazey handbook and bringing the scene a shitload of new energy and depth.
Forming as recently as 2012 makes the achievements of this release all the more impressive. With their lineage in Melbourne, the four lads began touring the local circuit like punk kids possessed. They dropped their first single Dull halfway through last year before hooking up with the pedigreed rock producer Lindsay Gravina (The Living End, Magic Dirt, Violent Soho, Adalita). They then stepped into Birdland Studios packing youthful enthusiasm and guitar pedals, and started throwing haymakers.
Contrast make it clear from the opening track that they intend on creating dream pop to pack a punch. Pipe Dreams hits you instantly with a wall of sound, built with solid percussion and glaring guitars. The next blow is the casual 80s/90s post-punk vocal delivery, resonating with evident influence Slowdive, which seems to fit perfectly whilst the guitars shred and the engine room jabs away. Trap has a shinier feel, with the layers initially toned back with more jangly distortion, before the track builds to bow out with a pummeling of high pitched guitars.
Less than Zero follows, bringing more tone to the vocals and poppier sentiments. You can feel that the lads take huge precedence from The Church through the flowing guitar fills and drony vocals. Construction continues to channel the genre’s early forms, the guitar work reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins, given a modern energy that, with Jack Crook’s soft relaxed vocals, feels like Silversun Pickups’ more blissful work. The bands first ever release, Dull, lands as the final track, and is anything but. Possibly the highlight of the EP, it carries you away on a wave of tight drumming, dreamy guitars and all-round airy vibe.
In their short time together, Contrast have compiled the type of sound that you just want to turn up and blast. The first time I listened to Dull I thought there was a faint siren layer, until red and blue lights whizzed by the window. They generate an ethereal depth of sound, a solid wall; they’re the Ann Veal of new age shoegaze. You’ll have to wait until April 4 to get the full release, but be sure to try them on now.
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