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Merging Aussie folk infused punk with their unique brand of indie rock, Sydney locals Taking Berlin turn out raw and introspective tracks on their sophomore EP.
The new EP Degenerate Rot sees Taking Berlin step up their game with a solid mixture of melodic and catchy rock jams. The masters of psychaboogie are back!
Formed in 2012 from a group of university friends with a mutual affection for music, beer and smashing out great rock tracks, the group currently consists of rhythm guitarist Bradley Christie, lead guitarist Shannon Richards, bassist Hamish Ingram and vocalist-drummer Dave Voglis. Since their inception the band have been busy gigging and establishing a presence on the Sydney music scene. Dropping debut EP The Lottery in September last year the group wasted no time in returning to Redfern’s Def Wolf studios to lay down tracks for follow up EP Degenerate Rot.
While the more intimate tone might contrast with those of previous EP, the boys have by no means abandoned their energetic and electrifying guitar driven jams. This said, from the opening lyric “I remember I learnt to read after I started watching TV” off first track News to Me to the statement that “As an infant I worshipped TV” at the start of bittersweet of closer I’ve Been Away, it is clear that the group have moved away from impersonal and clichéd rock tropes towards a more introspective heart-on-sleeve approach to their lyrics. In a similar vein to LP Throw Me in the River by Melbourne folk-punk contemporaries The Smith Street Band, Degenerate Rot sees Taking Berlin’s song writing efforts focused upon crafting honest and lyric driven tracks that explore salient themes of the frustration, confusion and malaise associated with growing up in Australia.
Recorded with producer Ryan Brennan (who also worked with the group on their previous EP) Degenerate Rock stands up from a production standpoint. The creative decision to embrace distortion and feedback adds character to the music and has helped capture a polished yet raw sound which perfectly compliments the stripped back and down-to-earth aesthetic of the EP. This is something which really works for the band, adding another layer of meaning and gravitas to their bombastic rock sound.
Comprising of four tracks Degenerate Rot showcases the band’s diversity and ability to coalesce a number of rock influences into their distinctive ‘psychaboogie’ sound while also making a cohesive artistic statement. The driving bottom-heavy bass and gritty punk guitar weaving of fast paced first track News to Me contrasts to the slower pace and the rolling riffs of melancholy dolewave ballad Swim. Like a New Dime provides a dramatic climax. Turning away from the folk influences in favour of a stronger rock flavour, the track represents the group’s ’psychaboogie’ at its best, daringly throwing together indie, psych and garage rock riffs to create a killer tune about amphetamines and red wine. Evocative of The Pixies, the heavy riffs and sonorous sonic textures of final track I’ve Been Away explore themes of despair and disillusion while sending the EP emotionally drifting towards its inevitable end.
While previous EP The Lottery demonstrated the band’s adeptness at turning out some catchy rock jams, the group’s decision to adopt a more impassioned and personal approach to their song writing has really added depth and sophistication to their melodic and catchy rock tunes. Taking Berlin have certainly hit their stride with Degenerate Rot and there is little doubt that there is still a lot more to come from the Sydney locals.
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