Look down at your feet. If you’re not wearing boots, put some on because Melbourne four-piece Contrast have just dropped their foggy shoe-gaze 7” Sidewalk/Construction, released through Moontown Records – a label renowned for focusing on the weird, wonderful music that comes out of Australia and then releasing it on vinyl and cassette. The band members, Jack Crook, James Thomson, Nathan Brown and Thomas Smeets humbly say they’re “Not bad but pretty how ya goin”. You should take a listen to their most recent double tracker and make your own mind up about these guys (I’m sure you’ll disagree).
Contrast’s latest 7-inch Sidewalk / Construction are two sides of the same coin. Breezy yet brooding the Melbourne four piece have absolutely nailed it.
It was recorded at Birdland Recording Studios, Prahran by one half of the cheery noise outfit Matt Hosking who recorded Drum Machine, a song off their Less Than Zero EP released about a year ago. They decided to recruit Lindsay Gravina for mixing duties, also in charge of mixing and recording the EP.
The first track off the release, Sidewalk is a punch from the get go. Originally intended as a release on their last EP, major sounding and drum-driven, Sidewalk takes you outside in the fresh autumn air and helps you contemplate. They sing “It seems to me you’re getting quite good at what you thought means nothing anyway, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you”, complicatedly and drawn out over musical phrases. I was having trouble understanding what exactly these guys were trying to say so I asked them myself.
They told me that “Its kinda [sic] a stab at arrogant bands but worded poorly” which makes more sense, but applying the words to most situations is easy because of the ambiguity of the lyrics. Feedback scratches its way into the song, leading to a crescendo of drum bashing and a sunshine soaked guitar solo. The chorus goes “But it’s hard to grasp that it’s easy to pretend it’s what you want to make it easier. It’s said and done to take the sidewalk.” Again, giving you a hasty amalgamation of words that make complete and utter sense in your mind.
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Construction is almost a flip side to the first track. It’s brooding and drone- like, with Blade Runner vibes setting up a five minute jam of rolling lyrics, exploring some pretty deep stuff like “Sometimes I’m afraid like I’m just someone who you don’t want”. It evokes that fear that decides to sit in the pit of your gut, you know it – the one right after you’ve gone on a couple of dates with someone you’re into but you know they just don’t feel the same (especially since your Facebook messages remain ‘seen’ for over eight hours).
Well developed and negotiated, the words “Now it’s just all turned round” essentially round off the track, dropping it into an almost minute long outro, leaving you with a trembling tambourine and the remnants of a drone, most likely making you think “Huh, I guess they’re more than pretty how ‘ya goin’”.
Overall, Contrast’s latest 7-inch release, Sidewalk/Construction is breezy yet brooding, hopeful yet disheartened and all the things that make for a great coupla’ songs. If you want to catch these guys around Melbourne, they’ll be hitting the Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood on the 27th with Parading and Hideous Towns. The 7-inch is available to purchase from their Bandcamp digitally and on vinyl through Moontown Records.
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