Another band that I tipped as ones to watch in 2012, and who I’ve subsequently tried to support via my label and events, was Hysteric Picnic, who have been working on new material lately and have recently come up with these two new tracks.
The group probably aren’t offering any prizes for those who can deduce the inspiration behind Birthday Party, and if the decidedly uncryptic title didn’t clue you in as to the influence of Nick Cave and co., the gothic, minor chord guitar clangs, wails and whistles of industrial noise, and doom-laden, monastic vocals should remove all doubt. That said, like pretty much everything Hysteric Picnic do, there’s a solid core of Joy Division to it as well, especially in the relentless, repetitive rhythm, delivered here in the form of the patient clatter of a drum machine.
On Chandelier, the group build around a synth loop that’s curiously, and almost certainly unintentionally, reminiscent of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by the Eurythmics. Like Birthday Party, the group approach it in a similarly doom-laden manner, although the guitars are happy to spend a lot of the time in the background, leaping to the fore every now and then in that particular reverb-heavy way that the band seem so fond of in order to punctuate moments of particular existential horror.
Compared to last year’s Abekobe (featured on my own label’s Dancing After 1AM compilation album), both songs adopt a more deliberate pace, employ noise more for atmosphere than impact, and bring melody to the fore, which suggests a group growing in confidence in their songwriting. It’s still all very lo-fi, which in this day and age is as much an aesthetic choice as anything else, but the less claustrophobic arrangements and increased willingness to let the music breath also hint at a group whose sound is growing in depth.