In a world packed to the brim with sweet and shiny popstars, where you can hardly listen to a rock tune that hasn’t been polished to within an inch of its life, it‘s nice to hear a band that has a bit of grunt. Former Bluebottle Kiss frontman, Jamie Hutchings, is the man behind Infnity Broke, an experimental rock group that takes cues from garage bands of yore.
Jamie Hutchings returns to the fold with Infinity Broke. Lose, violent and erring on the side of abstract, it’s for fans of unconventional rock.
Bluebottle Kiss were something of a cult band in the 1990s and early 2000s, combining a good dose of Aussie rock with a bit of folk and a dash of left-of- centeredness that placed them somewhere near, but not quite in the vicinity of You Am I. While Infinity Broke seems to have taken cues from Hutchings’ past, this band seem to have almost degenerated in sound, structurally and production wise, but not necessarily in a bad way.
Infinity Broke’s tracks are a whole lot less ‘written’ than Bluebottle Kiss’s, the overall sound is rawer and as a result their tunes are more primally felt. Hutchings’ voice indicates a life (not-so) well lived; a raspy, violent thing, it often crackles and tears through songs — but just as often is almost beautiful, like on opening track Famine of Words. Recorded thanks to crowd-funding, the album was produced by Hutchings himself, during the same sessions as the band’s previous album, River Mirror. The sessions were held on a farm in Bathurst, and the songs reflect the bucolic nature of the band’s surroundings.
First single Only the Desert Grows does indeed feel like you’ve just been dropped in the middle of Death Valley. Prickly like a cactus, with no warmth to the recording, it’s the tale of a collapsing relationship and conjures up that bone-dry feeling of when you realise you’re alone. Backed by his brother Scott Hutchings on drums, Rueben Wills on bass and Jared Harrison also on drums and vocals, the album belies Hutchings’ touch, but also doesn’t seem too restrictive in terms of giving everyone else a go at doing their own thing.
While Bluebottle Kiss weren’t exactly a straight-up traditional rock band, Infinity Broke err even further on the edge of abstract. A lot of the songs feel as though they’ve been written to a structure, but then have been improvised so many times over that the original track has been lost. While it could occasionally do with a bit of tightening, this from-the-gut approach has resulted in some pretty believable music. At times the album becomes unnecessarily weird, like fifth track Domestik, which is basically just ambient noise, and to be honest, a bit superfluous.
One highlight is Dogfall, a tempestuous wall of clanging drums and violent guitars that doesn’t let up, but for a bit of tempering by the light tones of a Bathurst based, all-female backing group. There isn’t really any one sound here to be pinpointed, as tracks vacillate wildly from the brutality of Dogfall, to the simple and melancholy Ladybug, recorded with only acoustic guitar and tinkling, ambient noise.
The best thing about this album is that you really can feel it rip through you like a blunt knife. The aforementioned lack of structure really serves to express the certain melancholy rage and sadness that Hutchings seems to possess; if he told you he was crumbling from the inside out, you’d believe him.
This is never going to be commercially viable music. But it does what it does well. Who ever said international fame and wealth was the point of a career in music anyway?[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191993498″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]