If Australia is still suffocating under the weight of a cultural cringe, no-one has told Tex Napalm and Dimi Dero. While the European film industry retains a mortgage over dark, brooding cinema, its distant musical cousin remains gripped by a spell cast by The Birthday Party, The Scientists, The Beasts of Bourbon and The Drones. Partly Animals is the product of a collaboration between the German-born Tex Napalm and the Frenchmen Dimi Dero. One sonic whiff of Feed Me, and the atmosphere is thick with the scent of Hugo Race holding court in the darkest realms of Berlin. On Let A Poor Boy Ride Your Train, each moment brings with it the spectre of Rowland S Howard, cigarette dangling from his mouth, dripping equal parts charisma and intensity. Temptation is the Beasts stumbling drunkenly along a country road; All Too Much is Spencer P Jones lost in the haze of his own chemically induced confusion, searching in vain for direction while the weight of fate falls on his shoulders.
Just Like Glass is a youthful Nick Cave kicking against the pricks of convention; Life Is Fine is a narrative of painful existence that runs from the back streets of St Kilda to the lumber yards of Washington State; To Paradise is a brief, and pleasurable moment of sweetness and light, as the plastic happiness of the Velvets via Las Vegas glistens for just one more dance. That’s What I Want is where rock’n’roll goes to hide when it’s chased by the vacuous sycophants that claim to define popular tastes. This Is War is The Scientists’ purple-clad murderess shoved up against the war, forced to fight for her very existence and More Guitar spits The Wreckery in your face and dares you to respond.
The appearance of the thermin in I Lied is merely an entree for a sojourn into the recesses of the soul; Cigarettes And Cheap Red Wine is the soundtrack for Tom Waits’ wake; Farewell rumbles like the proverbial street punk desperate for social acceptance and if you don’t understand why Stuck is the best Drones song never written, then nothing’s going to help. In fact, if you don’t appreciate just why Partly Animals is so fucking good, then heaven – or maybe hell – help you.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Best Track: More Guitar
If You Like These, You Like This: ROWLAND S HOWARD, BEASTS OF BOURBON, HUGO RACE, THE SCIENTISTS
In A Word: Intense