THE CHLORINES Inhabitants album launch gets 8/10

The Chlorines Inhabitants album launch @ The Bird
w/ Pat Chow, Maurice Flavel’s Intensive Care, Oosterbanger
Friday, July 14, 2017

8/10

Friday night was strangely calm. After a miserably chilly week, the unrelenting Perth cold afforded the appreciative Bird crowd some well-earned respite. Come eight o’clock, the candle lights stood proudly unshaken in the midst of an already burgeoning capacity. There is a sweet little window where the Bird looks and feels magical out the back; the absence of the biting cold and the excitement of the occasion led to an all-round sense of relaxed anticipation around the folks as they tucked into their $14 chicken burgers and $8 fries.

Oosterbanger

Some were, in fact, still going as one-girl-wrecking-machine Oosterbanger launched into her searing exposition of assortments with an at times abrasive set. Proceedings commenced with the loud, angry Odysseus. Earnin’ followed, an anti-ode to her previous occupation at a government job. It contained what one eventually deduced to be a super-bridge, a killer interlude that was part of some kind of all-encompassing medley. Whilst her cool, assured vocals rendered clean against the commanding fuzz of her cherry tobacco Jazzmaster, the set itself was perhaps misplaced against the sound of forks clattering against dinner plates being cleared from tables laid directly in front of her. This was non-dinner crowd music being played to largely a dinner crowd – the seasoned performer awkwardly admitted as much to the folk untucking their napkins: “This feels very full on as an opening act.” It did, but viewed as a necessary aural alignment, she was a purposefully placed precursor for the guttural anxiety that would follow.

Maurice Flavel’s Intensive Care

The tables were hastily cleared not long after the set finished and chairs quickly packed away to create standing room for the punters keen to witness the splendour of Maurice Flavel’s Intensive Care. Flavel and his pack of miscreant accompaniers swung from groovy to moody and back again throughout a polished, well-rehearsed set. The former Gutterville Splendour 6 frontman was vocally garnished by the remaining Raven of Salvation, Paige McNaught, more of a genuine second vocalist now than a standard backup singer and her cool, crisp tones juxtaposed sweetly against Flavel’s powerful growl. Guitarist Peter Gordon played beautifully; a real lesson in owning one’s musical space and not letting your noise eat up everyone else’s. There were some wonderful chords to be heard, accentuating and building the songs where required. The vibe lifted with the Care during the very good The Circle Song, the third in an all-too brief set, and stayed up during the take-no-prisoners barnstormer that was Poison, the pick of the set. The only qualm came when a musical colleague suggested that the bass was being thumped far too loud for his liking. I disagreed, thoroughly digging the levels during the heavier songs like Poison but once the sweetly titled, softer Once We Loved kicked off, I conceded he may have been right.

Pat Chow

Any other haters of dominant thumping bass players were rightly scarce however at the outset of Perth garage-punk darlings and all-round madmen Pat Chow’s penultimate set. Opening with Martyrdom, and treating the adoring crowd to favorites such as Pleasure Unit, Green Eyes and No Strings, The Chow brought a fun, typically carefree vibe to an already stellar night. A genuinely thankful Ben Protasiewicz gracefully articulated his appreciation for Pat Chow’s spot on the card, providing them with a chance to celebrate the occasion with the band for whom the night was ultimately for. He then proceeded to sing Happy Birthday to someone. Musically speaking, that was the lowpoint of the night.

The Chlorines

Opting with the challenge of playing the final spot, as opposed to settling for the safer third, The Chlorines continued their rapid rise into the consciousness of Perth music lovers with another solid set. As the ominous palm mute of opener Skin reverberated through the smoky blue lighting one couldn’t help but note the calm stoicism of lead singer, writer and Chlorines creator Owen De Marchi, guitarist Brayden Edwards, slide maestro Re Ne, drummer Oscar Van Gass and bassist Jeremy Segal (filling in seamlessly for the absent Tom Freeman.) This was a band all on the same page, all equal contributors to De Marchi’s vision.

The Chlorines

De Marchi is a frontman’s frontman. Easy on the histrionics, heavy on the presence. His baritone drawl will violently intensify, or quiver and shudder, at the appropriate lyrical cue. The soul-squeezing A Toad Or A Dove and Soulsick; a murky, affecting tribute to humanity’s inherent duplicity, were the two best examples of the broad range of nuances the man possesses vocally. As a lead singer, he contains a perfect storm of talent – his vocal performance is honest and emotive without a scent of contrivance. The man brings the most authentic of captivating presence on stage. Finally, and most importantly, the music is good. The Chlorines are an amazing live band. If you haven’t yet seen them, you really should. There was barely any audible difference between the recorded songs on the just-released Inhabitants and the songs we heard on Friday night. A reasonable achievement considering Re Ne’s mantra of playing each song by feel, not predetermined chords. He played within himself, as did the rest of the band during a contained, professional set.

CAIN CIALLELLA

Photos by Linda Dunjey Photography

The Chlorines

 

The Chlorines

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