A couple of nights ago, I had a fairly odd dream that featured Sharon Stone. (No, not even slightly mucky, so behave yerselves.) She pitched up on my doorstep unannounced and, once I'd lobbed a handful of fine Italian coffee in the cappuchino machine and set it brewing, we sat down at the kitchen table and she explained her visit: "If I hear one more nu-metal record," she said, "I'm going to vomit. What's interesting right now?"
I pulled out Despair Ltd. by Tankt and waved it at her. "This. It's getting a deal of play in the more progressive clubs here."
"What, the sort of places that would play a recording of a child banging some saucepans together as long as the band name sounded European and no-one had heard of them before?"
"Nah. Reasonably sensible places. Here - have a listen." A fifties nuclear-safety jingle crackled out of the speakers as Ms. Stone brought two steaming pint mugs of cappuchino from the machine.
"Hey. Good start. This isn't American, is it?"
I rifled through the liner-notes. "Well spotted. They're from Melbourne, apparently. Which explains why it sounds like they've listened to a lot of Snog and..."
"... Severed Heads?" I boggled. A lot.
"There's a really non-American sound to this." She continued "It's like you listen to a lot of US 'industrial' and the song structures are pretty generic rock & roll-influenced, yeah? It's the way so many of the songs bobble along at the same tempo because they haven't mastered the sequencer they're using and they all go 'mumbly mumbly mumbly SHOUT SHOUT URRRGHH!' as if the music was supposed to be as soul-destroying as their day jobs in some fast-foot outlet."
I just nodded and slurped my coffee. Sharon was on a serious roll. "These guys aren't afraid to muck around with song-structures, are they? And what was that track that sounded like The Offspring? Flip 'em out? Yeah - that was way cool. Then there's the next track. Is it me or are they really parodying Depeche Mode with that?"
"I wonder if the singer's bald..." I mused aloud.
"Why do you say that?"
"This track: I Refuse. It sounds like a less angsty VNV Nation - and most futurepop vocalists are bald. It would follow..."
"I don't think so. I think they drive around in warmed-up Holden Commodores, listening to AC/DC for irony value."
"That's an awful thing to say. They could be an anarcho-veggie collective for all you know."
"They can take it. They're punker'n fuck. This CD is solid gold and they know it. It's really good to be able to listen to something that's got this much... Contrast? Light and shadow? Whatever - it gives you some hope that people are still making interesting music with occasional choruses that would scare The Mission, by the sound of it."
And then I awoke. Despair Ltd. is that good, though.
Post: Tankt, PO Box 246, Northcote 3070 VIC, Australia