Album Review: Underground Lovers – A Left Turn

8 October 2019 | 8:58 am | Chris Familton

"[A]nother sonic gem from one of Australia’s psychedelic finest."

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Underground Lovers are back with their tenth studio album, their third since they reactivated after a hiatus through the first decade of the 21st century. That return showed they were still in fine form with their blend of psychedelic indie-rock and electronica and they’ve again produced a strong album that brings those elements together in perfect hypnotic harmony.

Their last album Staring At You Staring At Me focused on the guitar sound of the band, giving it more of a rock feel. This time around they’ve ushered electronic explorations back into the fold, placing the album close to the work they produced on Cold Feeling at the end of the ‘90s. 

Early on, Bells sets its sights on the heart of the mind and, just as viably, the dancefloor. Its droning Krautrock sprawls across more than six wonderful minutes. They have the ability – like Spiritualized and Wooden Shjips – to find the sweet spot of a groove and ride it endlessly. Hooky ups the rock ante, yet still feels warm with the melodies of Glenn Bennie’s guitar and Vincent Giarrusso’s vocal incantations. Shoegaze has always been another mainstay of the band’s sound and on Dunes and Lusher, Philippa Nihill sounds like a dream sister to My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins. The music shimmers, glows and gently shudders behind her. The single Seven Day Weekend is anthemic in its drum machine-powered rhythm and distorted see-saw guitars. Giarrusso trips out in full Shaun Ryder mode on the ode to carefree socialising. 

By the time we reach the conclusion of the epic nine-minute closer Rocky Endings (A Left Turn), there’s a sense of post-rollercoaster exhilaration in the wake of the album’s propulsive peaks and floating valleys. The song winds its wistful way for four minutes before taking off into the stratosphere on an interstellar space-rock mission of chiming guitars, pulsing bass and metronomic drumming that billows and expands gorgeously. A Left Turn is another sonic gem from one of Australia’s psychedelic finest.