Album Review: The Slow Push Misshappen Giants

4 July 2012 | 9:13 am | Matt O'Neill

For the most part, The Slow Push succeed in crafting their own sound and songs. Check them out.

Misshapen Giants represents a strong development for The Slow Push. The Brisbane post-punks delivered a promising record in the form of 2009's We Blame The Overachievers but didn't quite succeed in capturing their coruscating live sound in a studio environment. Leader Chris Hetherington's songs simply sounded too pretty. Too clean.

Misshapen Giants remedies that oversight. It's neither as pummeling nor as hypnotic as the band's live performances but it is about as raw as they're likely to get on record without Steve Albini's assistance. It's a work of booming drums, sporadic guitar stabs and paranoid vocals, augmented only by the occasional blast of synthesiser or electronics. It's not clean. More unsettling. 

The band back up their revamped production work with sharper material, too. Lions and Maybe You're A Myth are two of the best singles you'll hear all year. Hetherington has pared back his already austere songwriting to the point where there's little more than hooks and rhythms and the results are as gripping as they are infectious – the end product sounding not unlike the midway point between My Disco and Snowman.

There are some issues but they're comparatively minor. The band manage to coax a surprising array of variation from their freakishly minimal aesthetic and it's remarkable how, despite owing a significant debt to early post-punk like The Fall and Talking Heads, they manage to consistently sound like they're own beast – but matters do grow repetitive after a while. It's a record enjoyed in bursts or in singles; not sustained listening.

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Again, comparatively minor. For the most part, The Slow Push succeed in crafting their own sound and songs. Check them out.