Spring has sprung, which here in the UK means several months of not knowing what the fuck’s going on temperature-wise. Intense sunshine with a severe chill in the air? Brutal downpour underpinned by a sticky, sickly warmth? We’ve got the lot, and more besides. Perfect weather, then, for Body Maintenance, who hail from the traditionally sunny climes of The Land Down Under while dealing in a particularly icy brand of hardcore-tinged post-punk. Confused? Nah, you won’t be, so ignore this heavily laboured introduction. You’ll be too busy being totally bowled over by the roar of their echo pedal-laden racket.
‘Beside You’ is their first full-length LP, following a 12” EP and live cassette on guitarist James Kane’s own Unwound Records, and a self-released demo cassette. Superficially, their take on brutally noisy sang-froid is the sort of thing that garners lazy comparisons to Joy Division, but more discerning ears will pick out similar sounds like Stockholm’s much-missed Holograms, Blitz circa ‘Second Empire Justice’ and even Italy’s modern anarcho heroes A Culture Of Killing. All of which is kind of irrelevant except that it should tell YOU, o worthy possessor of exquisite taste, that it sounds fucking great and you need to get this band in your ears immediately.
Drummer Zoe Mulcahy (also of Jake Robertson’s effervescent Alien Nosejob project) may be the secret star of the show, whether lending a glowing pulse to the coldwave-imbued robotica of ‘Time Enough’ or simply wailing hard on album opener ‘Silver Yarns’. Riley Stafford’s dispassionate bark also stands out, especially on the driving ‘It’s Theatre’, although it’s buried deep in the mix, clouded by the wash of guitars and Ella Howells’ glacial synths. But let’s not get bogged down in individual performances, ‘cause this Melbourne quintet are way more than the sum of their parts. The whole is punchy and powerful; the sound pulls you all over the place emotionally – you can’t truly prepare for the way the brooding title track sneaks up on you. It throbs in your brain like an amyl nitrate headache; it rages subtly and smartly while simultaneously indulging AND railing against a primitivist instinct to rock out. More simply, it’s the soundtrack to your springtime and beyond – this is the instant classic you’ve been after, so why waste any more time reading what I’ve got to say on the matter? Buy it, regret nothing but the shelf space you didn’t occupy.