LAUGHING GEAR - "FREAK LEMONS" LP
After some delay LAUGHING GEAR’s freak lemons have finally fruited and ready to drop onto your turntable. Stylistically this is a hard record to pinpoint, which works in its favour. The compositions are thicc as hell despite their slender frame. It’s fair to say that the rhythm section recalls the sort of sounds you’d find resonating at the end of a needle scraping against the jagged little grooves of a Dark Entries or Minimal Wave reissue, paired with a kind of mesmerising mongrel bark and aggressive whine which makes this duo feel like they may in fact be some sort of Karmic reincarnation of The Screamers. This is jarring music, and it is meant to be, but that isn’t to say that there isn’t clever and almost catchy rhythmic and melodic roots at the base of this freak show. I shudder at the thought of experiencing this live and my body moving against my will in time with the to and fro of these dangerous experiments they call songs … with a discernibly concerned look on my face and a glint in my eye.
Laughing Gear is an exercise in catharsis aimed at dissecting the tribulations of gentrification & classist warfare. The band features ex members of Melbourne synth punk luminaries Chrome Dome, Brando’s Island, Romero and Eyesores.
Formed by vocalist / pattern architect Bryce Sweatman in 2018, Laughing Gear combine modulating analogue synths with Compu-Rhythm drum machine loops, complemented by a howling / delay-induced vocal screech that harks back to an era of synth-punk that was most dominant in the 1980’s underground music. Fergus Sinclair’s incendiary guitar work is drenched in chorus effects that allow these unique synth-punk & anarcho worlds to collide and mutate, culminating in a highly original musical space that is provocative, jarring and exhilarating.
Laughing Gear’s stunning debut album ‘Freak Lemons’ is a formidable collection of cutting-edge dystopian synth punk and incisive socio-political commentary, delivered with an acid tongue and a wry sense of gallows humour. A finely honed 80s pop sensibility is mixed with heavy doses of vintage synth worship and punk rock antagonism, while the history of underground music is slyly referenced. The result is a defiantly original and unapologetically danceable album brimming with whip-smart lyrics and cunningly crafted songs where hooks and concepts fly thick and fast.
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