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Live Review: We Lost The Sea, The Crooked Fiddle Band

23 January 2017 | 4:12 pm | Matt MacMaster

"A fearless exploration of humanity's limits utilising a Spartan palette of sound and fury."

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Titanic. Epic. Gigantic. Magisterial. These adjectives may sound borderline ridiculous, but only because we live in an age of unchecked hyperbole. Most of us have been conditioned to dismiss language like this. It's a small tragedy that we've become desensitised to the dialect of wonder. Enter: We Lost The Sea. They played Newtown Social Club's bandroom on Saturday to a full house and, by the time they had reached the forest-levelling crescendo of Challenger Pt 2 — A Swan Song, any dormant accusations of hollow inflation were annihilated.

The show was a resounding success. The mix was detailed and surprisingly effective in conveying their full potential in such a small room. Supporting act, the folk metal wizards that are The Crooked Fiddle Band, were fantastic, with Joe Gould's devilish Lars Ulrich-style percussion sounding like thunder behind Jess Randall's eerie siren songs flowing from her nyckelharpa. There's no one quite like them, and they were the perfect combination of melancholia and vibrant life in the lead-up to We Lost The Sea and their sombre magnificence.

In full flight, We Lost The Sea wielded a staggering power. At times it was a heart-stopping look into the abyss, a fearless exploration of humanity's limits utilising a Spartan palette of sound and fury. In short, it was a show that fundamentally moved you.

For neophytes, the gig was a fine tribute to courageous men and women obliterated by fate (Lawrence Oates, 'the Chernobyl three', David Shaw, the Challenger crew), as told by their 2015 LP Departure Songs while, for long-time fans, it was also a poignant moment of departure and growth for the band. This was the last time they played the album in full, an album incidentally written in response to the tragic suicide of band leader Chris Torpy. It was also the last time long-term member Brendon Warner was to play with them. From here they move on to write new music and to reach out to Europe. They essentially cease to be We Lost The Sea as we know them, becoming a new version.

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