USURPER OF MODERN MEDICINE Everything Is Nothing gets 8/10

Usurper of Modern Medicine
Everything Is Nothing
Independent

8/10

Perth locals, Usurper of Modern Medicine have returned with their second full length album and an accompanying app downloadable for free for those with a vinyl copy. Stick the record on, open the app and scan the spinning vinyl like a QR code and it becomes a unique, interactive experience.

The album itself is what we’ve come to expect from Usurper, an upbeat, electronic, psychedelic rock journey. Often sounding like all the Beatlesness of Tame Impala, combined with turn of the millennium rockers The Music, Usurper have produced an album that has you feeling like you’ve been propelled at high speeds through some fractal universe.

A majority of songs are built around a repeated phrase. “Let it go”, “Do you want it?”, “Fare thee well”, “Ego war” – Usurper are good at throwing out three to four syllable hooks, which act as something familiar for the listener to focus or latch onto through the lysergic trip that is each song, or indeed the whole album. It’s easy to get lost from one track to another when listening casually, there’s definitely a sonic palate that carries throughout.

Opener House of Reps feels like a call to arms against the establishment. “The time has come to take your power back / Do you even want it?” The latter part seeming as if they’re perhaps chiding us for not taking action sooner, or for presuming that liking the latest post by Get Up is enough. It’s a dense and heavy, driving track, pairing nicely with second track Mercury in Motionless Space which continues to propel, pushing along with a nice a bass groove. The grooves continue, with the cosmic space jam of Intercyclical, the dystopian, self-help tape for rainbow children sounding Miley C and the Diamond Tea and the underwater journey through slime marshes and battles with giant octopi in the instrumental Vaseline Submarine. It’s a trip.

The penultimate track Ego War harks back to Mercury in Motionless Space, with the “let it go” refrain morphing into “ego war”. A track about questioning one’s self and ridding of ego is an appropriate track to come at the end of the journey. As is the relatively blissful title track Everything is Nothing which finishes proceedings. A swaying, dreamy, uplifting track, it feels like a final rinse out from the system.

I wanted the accompanying app to be a lot cooler, but it seemed a little gimmicky and I lost interest pretty quick. It also seemed to lock up on me a couple of times, which didn’t help with persistence. I was using a smart phone however, and using a tablet would probably retain interest for a little longer, the visuals seemed very crushed together on the smaller screen. However, it’s a neat idea, and the skull super-imposed on my turntables spindle was pretty rad. The album is thankfully the stronger of the two in the package.

NEIL SOLACE

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