Album Review: Huntly - Low Grade Buzz

13 March 2019 | 11:38 am | Tim Kroenert

"The mode is not maudlin but cathartic"

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Huntly’s unofficial tagline “doof you can cry to” is apt but deceptively reductionist. On their debut LP, the Melbourne trio find space to expand and refine their emotional and aural palettes.

Compared with 2016 EP Feel Better Or Stop Trying’s compellingly bruised-sounding takes on love, lust and loss, the mood of Low Grade Buzz is quite a contrast. For example, Wiggle is as buoyant as break-up songs get, Elspeth Scrine’s warm vocals enriched by contrast with Charlie Teitelbaum’s droning anti-chorus in a song about finding empowerment through separation. Likewise, in Drop Gear, a vaguely sinister torch song with shades of co-dependence and unrequited lust, the mode is not maudlin but cathartic, riding waves of sparse beats and pulsing synth with growing abandon.

Teitelbaum takes the lead on the murky, six-minute Wait (37 Degrees); it’s no Singing Surts, but its repeated two-chord progression and scatterings of frantic percussion are cumulatively hypnotic. Vitamin, with its chanted word-speak and crackling beats that feel like they want to skip out of time, could be an off-cut from Kid A and is notable for the sublime restrained fury of Scrine’s vocal. At the end of it all, Scrine herself provides a benediction in the form of the stunning title track, a melody-driven confessional pop song, razor-edged with digital textures.