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Live Review: Grails, Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving

22 October 2012 | 3:15 pm | Brad Barrett

More Grails More Grails

Perth's Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving are like clockwork gears slowly getting reacquainted. Skeletons of arpeggios and repeated fractions of notes were clashed, melded and chained together. These carefully sliced cross-sections blended and twisted over a number of minutes, building in waves to a torrent. Suddenly, the stage was gushing with interlaced notes all flushed through with distortion and intricate drumming. Eight minutes in and a haunting, spectral note hovered in the air, hanging heavy over proceedings, which gripped our craniums and allowed every feedback-drenched chord full access to our unresisting ears. Like all great dynamic devices, it caught us unaware while offering comfort and satisfaction as it continued ever onwards. A mere 30 minutes later, and there was a huge gap needing to be filled somewhere between our ears and our hearts.

Grails' records are alternately severe and brooding, ambient and shape-shifting. Live, they turned out to be a jam band attempting to scrape the stratosphere. What disappointed most is the sense of drama they're capable of stretching across old, decrepit bones, almost to the point of transparency. Burning Off Impurities, as an example, always sounded rather menacing with its sitar drones. Deep Politics from last year contained an absorbing churn, exemplified by show opener Future Primitive. But the hints of disappointment are there in that record; slightly over-ebullient guitar licks, between the lovely Morricone-like breaks and simplistic ambient meanderings. The intricacies and brutality that somehow exists, spilling through the speakers at home, were lost live in favour of duelling guitars. They worked together, not against each other, but the floundering around in clichés and long practised guitar chops really left them drifting in an uninterested room. Conversation rose above interest and though Grails fought back with some more intriguing symphonies, it wasn't enough to raise them above the initial disappointment. The void is still needing to be filled. Perhaps Grails in the earphones can help with that.