Lower Plenty - Hard Rubbish
There are times when you want to listen to something with the lights off and headphones on. Something stripped bare. Aussie lofi outfit Lower Plenty have delivered that something. Hard Rubbish is music’s version of cinema’s Dogme style, ultra real and under-produced, with an ambient background fuzz that’s an instrument in itself. This would be a harder listen were the tracks longer, but at an average of two to three minutes it’s still a sometimes tough ride. Throughout the album vocal duties are switched about with Daniel Twomey and Sarah Heyward moving back and forth, background to forefront on the mic, sounding like particularly troubled friends confessing and confiding in us. ‘Work in the Morning’ is a ninety second shock of guitar and two part harmony which sets the tone for the rest of the album. On ‘Strange Beast’ Twomey’s drone pushes right through the centre of the tune with haunting vocal backing from Heyward, who then takes the lead above the noisy guitar feedback of ‘Dirty Flowers’ and the softer melancholic ‘Grass’, with the pretty and downbeat ‘Nullarbor’ in between. ‘White Walls’ is a thoroughly depressing song (“Where was I, when you needed me”) and a wall of guitar feedback on ‘Close Enough’ closes the album at a swift 23 minutes. For all the relentlessly downbeat nature of the music and lyrics, this is an album that grows in its own form of beauty with each sitting. Be under no illusions though, this is a challenging listen.