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Live Review: FEATURE ARTIST: Lower Plenty 'Hard Rubbish'

16 May 2012 | 10:30 am | Staff Writer

This album from Lower Plenty may be called Hard Rubbish but we expect 'rubbish' will be the last thing you find these songs.

LOWER PLENTY is no longer just a little known outer northern suburb of Melbourne whose notoriety rarely exceeds a name-check in some story plugging the gaps in the 6 o'clock news. It's also the name of a band made up of some of Melbourne's finest musical talent.

Of it's members, Sarah HeywardAl Montfort and Jensen Thjung are slightly more familiar for their output with acts including - but not limited to - Total ControlDeaf WishUV Race and Dick Diver, but in following up a well received initial outing as LOWER PLENTY they've returned with an LP titled Hard Rubbish.

It's a casual but moody alt-country type affair, dotted with haphazard harmonies and was reportedly recorded in a single take.  It's the kind of record that feels like it's already been worn in for you like a pair of old boots, all you have to do is slip them on to immediately feel at home.

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Highlight 'Strange Beast', is a brooding anti-duet on loneliness, the hopeless pleas of "dance with me strange beast" from the self-pitying duo seemingly falling on deaf ears.  'Dirty Flowers' follows with a rare taste of the band losing their cool, frantic strumming and a foreboding undercurrent of feedback building an illogical panic as if channelled from a disturbing dream.  With most of the tracks pulling up under three minutes there's an excellent economy of lyrics throughout.  An inspired example of this comes when "Nullabor" is coupled with (surely its ultimate Australian rhyming partner) "Commodore" in detailing a woman's four-wheeled escape to a fresh start across the desert.

The varied, makeshift sounding percussion used throughout the 9 songs sounds like it has been improvised from the bits and pieces that have accumulated in the backyard over the years (see the cover art above) awaiting the hard rubbish collection.  But like the rather subdued thuds, clinks and swishes that pace the record there's no real urgency in the matter since in the eyes of it's current inhabitants the junk just adds to the character of the place.

Clocking in at a tick over 23 minutes, Hard Rubbish is a charmingly humble album that will both chime into your share house coffee conversation and keep you company while you're washing up afterward.  But by the time final track 'Close Enough' concludes you're likely to have the urge to pop the kettle back on and do it again.

Words by Brad Davies.