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15 January 2016

The Garbage & The Flowers - 'Eyes Rind as if Beggars' (Bo'Weavil)

If you wait long enough, eventually everything gets reissued. I had this for over a year and only just now realised there was a CD stuck inside, but my CD player is broken at the moment so I'm not sure what's on it. Maybe I should pay closer attention to things I purchase. In the New Zealand hall of fame, this band occupies a special place, though really they should qualify for the regular ol' "music" hall of fame, if such a thing existed. Thank gosh it doesn't. Originally released in 1997, this double LP is mostly made of lo-fi live recordings, documenting this anarchic, shambolic mess of a band that nonetheless managed to captivate enough listeners to warrant this deluxe reissue, many years later. This is guitar music, occasionally erupting into piles of dissonant feedback and distortion, but it's not the slightest bit aggressive. This is dream music, though it never seduces you with anything too easy or too confectionary. Singer Helen Johnstone and guitarists Yuri Frusin and Paul Yates are the yin and yang, with her gorgeous voice and their hell-guitars pushing and pulling, but the drummer is nothing to scoff at either - this was really perfection, more than the sum of their parts, because of (not 'despite') the rough edges. The album feels more like a collection of whatever was lying around, a document that this existed, rather than a focused project, and I couldn't imagine it any other way. The notes bend and shimmer ('Holy Holy Blue' feels like it's barely held together at all), the recordings sound like their all made during the last night on earth, and the feeling is all warmth and magic, mostly creeping in from the edges. The walls of guitar on 'Nothing Going Down' and 'Rosicrucinn Lover' are almost devotional; they take over the space but never feel self-indulgent. Maybe it's just the Velvet Underground taken to the logical conclusion if it was 25 years later and on the other side of the world, but I love it. There's a quality to a lot of music from New Zealand -- Alastair Galbraith, I'm looking at you -- that is spooky, reverent, and open. This record is saturated in that, while seemingly laid on a fun jammy indie-rock structure. This is all romance without cynicism, a testament to the powers of noise and the energy within a band unit. And it's simple too - listen to 'Nothing Going Down at All' or 'Carousel' - this could be you or I. It's inspiring, and it makes me feel young and old at the same time, and I'm gushing here but I'm just so fucking grateful that this band existed.

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