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ART OF FIGHTING Luna Low gets 9/10


Art Of Fighting
Luna Low

Remote Control

9/10

Melbourne quartet Art Of Fighting put out 3 albums in the early 2000’s and arguably hold the honour of being the quietest band to win an ARIA for Best Alternative Album. They played their last live show in 2008, although never broke up. A dozen years after their acclaimed album Runaways, they return with a new collection titled Luna Low.

Primary songwriter Ollie Browne played the drums for C.W. Stoneking during the interim and bass player Peggy Frew had three novels published, yet Art Of Fighting sound as fresh as they ever did. The band have been known to underplay their sonic appeal by saying that they were originally inspired by lo-fi bands, but Art Of Fighting have always been a fresher and more dynamic outfit than those roots would suggest.

Genie opens proceedings and immediately demonstrates that Art Of Fighting haven’t lost any of their expanse. With its dynamic shifts, crisp guitars and spacious charm, it is the quintessential tune of their return. Ollie Browne’s distinctive voice continues to sound like that of a choirboy who has no reverence for the church and is as much responsible for the band’s appeal as any of their heady ingredients.

Having been responsible for some glacial-paced tunes in the past, Art Of Fighting is sometimes presented as an outfit that takes themselves too seriously. Tackling this head-on, there are plenty of lighter or wry moments throughout Luna Low. The most outstanding of these is Dickhead’s Lament, reflecting on some of the protagonist’s questionable behaviour of the past.

Ollie and Miles Browne pay tribute to their late father (renowned jazz drummer Alan Browne) during Conjurer. It is a fitting send off to a man who clearing shaped the siblings’ approach to life and music. Frew’s contribution to the album comes in the form of the seven and a half minute The Digger And The Dragger. It is mournful opus that speaks of two lovers who are nearing the end of life, and still feel like they have just met. Her songwriting contributions may be rare, but they are always of the highest standard.

There are few bands that can disappear for over a decade and then pick up exactly where they had left off. In an era where people consume music one song at a time, Art Of Fighting are still masters of crafting a full-length album. Luna Low sits comfortably amongst the high points of Art Of Fighting’s releases to date.

CHRIS HAVERCROFT

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