This is an introductory article that was almost not going to be. So often I find bands I wanna write about that aren’t active at the moment. Sure, they’ve got some albums up on bandcamp, but if they haven’t been doing anything (that you can discern from your social stalking skills) then it’s not so relevant to give them a write up. Local Group were almost another band to be thrown in the ‘wait for them to prove that they are alive then give them a write up’ bin – only to be saved by an upcoming support slot at Bar Open later this month. MRW.
So why am I so happy to be writing about an instrumental alt-country band from Melbourne? That sentence should answer your question. Their 2013 self-titled EP keeps listeners guessing, switching up between extended epics, post-rock worthy crescendos and howling 3 minute country ballads. Opener Waves sounds like the early, dribbling folksiness of Sufjan Stevens (think Sister) while later on, Sobering strikes a similar string, yet the slowmo drums and the singalong refrains remind me more of the creep ballads of Port O’Brien – especially since the sounds here are an exclusively electric affair. The rest of the album is straight up fuck off post-rock – a clean, refreshing brand of instrumental jams that lie somewhere between the glittering brilliance of How Strange, Innocence and Fugazi’s less polished freak-out instrumentals.
If I had to choose a highlight, it would be First Song, but an honourable mention must necessarily go to the 18 minute closer Western. The former evokes the rolling hills of rural highways – yellowing pastures, rolling hills, sparse trees dotting the butter coloured tablelands, dazed and empty looking horses infrequently whirring past the car window, the mystery of what lies beyond the area near the highway and what stalks the valleys at night. Spanish Street Scene brings forth more urban imagery, rain falling lightly upon the glass windows of moodily lit restaurants. White tables filled with miserable diners, each ordering their own plate of guilt with a side of fleeting happiness to share with strange familiars. I’m gonna refrain from describing epic closing track Western, in order to leave it as a surprise for you suckers and also because I’m now gonna go enroll in tertiary cinematography at COFA.
If you like music that is equally cinematic as it is emotive, give Local Group a listen. They’re playing a show not next Wednesday but the one after that (26th Feb 2014) at Bar Open with The Dark Ales who describe themselves as purveyors of hard hitting melodramatic grunge, and while we know that doesn’t sound promising, it’s free and you can totally leave before any grunge actually comes out of the speakers. Oh, and any fans of hard hitting melodramatic grunge can have a listen to The Dark Ales here. They sound like how they dress, which is cute.
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