Album Review: Spookyland - Beauty Already Beautiful

29 April 2016 | 3:59 pm | Matt MacMaster

"This is an elegant, melancholy, pompous, brash entry in modern guitar music, and should be celebrated."

Sydney outfit Spookyland feel like a band trying to push against the tide.

Their sound is like driving alone in some unnamed desert in the middle of the night, driving hard like someone or something is after you. Perhaps more accurately it's about as close to that haunted sound as a comfortable studio full of self-aware musicians can produce. It's a self-indulgent yet incredibly alluring throwback that would appeal to star gazers, outlaws, posers, burnouts and hipsters alike; a tried and tested approach to guitar rock that yields fine results this time around thanks to some unique vocal ticks, solid riffing and a confidant use of volume and texture.

The tide they're pushing against is the fractured multi-faceted approach popular at the moment. Beauty Already Beautiful is a fine example of muscular song craft favouring the direct approach. The stadium-sized chorus of God's Eyes certainly doesn't over complicate things; neither does the lighter-waving grandeur of Bulimic. They shamelessly prostrate themselves before rock's greatest identities, but Beauty is far more than hollow idolatry. Spookyland have a firm grip on all the details that count: deftly deployed harmonies, strong pacing and a fearless attitude to power chords that's fucking delightful. There's a sly weirdness tattooed to everything thanks to Marcus Gordon's mewling voice with its sharp Australian angles (see also: Gold Class), and 2014's Rock & Roll Weakling feels like a soap box next to Beauty's clifftop platform from which he yells now. It suits him.

This is an elegant, melancholy, pompous, brash entry in modern guitar music, and should be celebrated. Perhaps alone, in a car, driving through the desert at night.

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