Thursday, October 20, 2011

Album Review - Aver, Seft-titled, 2011.

Aver, a self described space, stoner and grunge rock band operating out of Sydney, Australia. This is there 100% DIY recorded self-titled debut. Wait til you hear this one man...!

Track one, “Anti-Matter”, is a rich mix of the smooth and the scattered, all held aloft by the mingling of the ambient lead guitar and the free bass that is quite high in the mix to great effect. There is a little of the more chilled moments of Kyuss, where Scott Reeder would do his own thing while Josh Homme would indulge some jangly clean guitar. The chorus is all Smashing Pumpkins and makes an excellent contrast to the verse. The brief, delay soaked solo invokes Wino, even in the minute few bars in which it exists.

Next up, “Jacob” is pure stoner delight, akin to American instrumentalists Eastern Crank in its riffing style. The vocals have old fashioned grunge sensibilities that often work well with this kind of music. It makes for greater accessibility and ensures that it's not all about fuzzed out guitars. In this case I can hear a little Layne Staley, which is always a good influence to emulate.

“Acid Rain”. At this early stage it is already clear that Aver are out to mix up some very unique sounds into their final product. This one opens with what I'm guessing is a droning didgeridoo, before settling into a fairly traditional rock riff. There's a touch of early Soundgarden Kim Thayil about the riffing and soloing as we progress, no complaints here! Nor with the following track, “Real Eyes”, any song that opens with a Nebula style swishy clean passage before breaking out into classic Black Flag dirt and back again, is a winner in my book.

“Retreat to Space”, makes me think of a less moody Isis (god rest 'em), retaining all the dark post-metal charm and inventiveness. And we shift vibes radically yet again with the melancholy “Decay”. I hate to keep name dropping comparison bands but when I listen to a band explore so many moods and flavours I have to put it into context, even just for my own sake, and here there is a nice touch of Yawning Man in the dead cool shuffle and spacey clean guitar. Yet the vocals maintain that 'Dirt'-era Layne Staley quality. This is the kind of thing you want when you are in the mood for something chilled and trippy, wake-and-bake music.

“Stoneage Wastseland”, a reference to The Who maybe? Regardless, it's a solid mix of simple riffing and a revival of the guitars of eternal sustain that creates the wonderful space rock vibe before the fuzz is engaged and we get into some up tempo fuckin' rock in the vein of Truckfighters. Things settle down with some sweet acoustic work on final track “Phantom Limb”. There is a lovely finality about this track, it would fit well laid over the final scenes of 'Almost Famous'.

At the end of the day after spending hour after hour in the college library is not the best time to review music; better to be fresh and enthusiastic than tired and looking at the bed with an almost sexual attraction. Yet despite this circumstance, this was still a joy to listen to. This record crosses the borders of smoking music, drinking music and thinking music and that is some accomplishment! All done DIY if you didn't catch it the first time! Well done Aver and although we're a whole hemisphere and many time zones away, I wish you lads all the best.

Aver, Self Titled, 2011.
Rating: 8/10
Standout Tracks: Acid Rain, Decay, Stoneage Wasteland.
For Fans of: Eastern Crank, Kyuss, Truckfighters.

Edward Gerard Brophy

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