The buffet that’s happening this year in Melbourne is one of psychedelic cream and other delights – week after week bands are releasing their latest and greatest works in the realm of psychedelic rock and experimental pop. Instead of the sensible peas, mash and schnitz of previous years we’re getting wave after wave of sugary enchantments. The expansion in musical experimentation we are experiencing now will be looked back on as an un-burstable bubble, growing with each new release. On the first day of this month Ministry of Plenty joined the experiment, releasing their debut EP, “Assertions”, our New Release of the Week.
It is a dreamy affair at the start. The first track, Leftovers, slowly moves from Rabbit Island and XX levels of ambience into a dark and droning state of chaos. Vocalist/guitarist Kieran Stubbs said in our interview with him (here) that he felt like Leftovers was the heart of the record. It’s the longest song at 7 minutes 53 seconds, and thus opens the EP with an exclamation mark (though the song actually finishes with the same calm ambience of its beginning).
There’s juxtaposition between Leftovers and the second track, What I Gave You. The ambience is dropped in favour of an alt-rock bass line, which drives the track across the same lyrical landscape that the first song introduced – one of loss, anger and frustration. Assertions seems to teeter on the verge of being a break-up EP. Luckily, while joining the buffet, Ministry of Plenty aren’t self-indulgent about it. They forego complexity in their verses in favour of succinctness.
Track three, Ever When, acts as a bridge. The band alludes to the disorganization that will characterize the penultimate and final songs. Self-indulgence becomes present here, and rightfully so. In my opinion, a band has free license to be self-indulgent if they can do it right. They can go get 5 serves of mousse in a row as long as they bring another one over for you each time.
Ministry of Plenty successfully do this with Evan – the highlight of Assertions. For two minutes they play as the voices in the back of your head, masked by the drone they introduced in track 1. I’m not sure how to describe what happens after that… it’s just bouncier, funkier and a lot more enjoyable. You hear the same things you’ve heard all along, but instead of doubt and insecurity creeping in it feels more like a bold and confident assertion. The band hits their stride and hits the nail on the head.
By the time the final track starts, you’ll be more than satisfied. It might be time to sit still and sip on lemonade while contemplating the food baby you’ve conceived over the past 25 minutes. I suppose Perfume could be characterized as the drive home – every bump encourages another burp to rise up and every red traffic light makes you more and more nervous that you might not make it home before the all-you-can-eat buffet mix comes out the way it way it went in. Don’t worry – it was worth it in the end. Just relax and enjoy that last track and remind yourself to do it all again the same way next week.
Check out the release here.
There’s a grand buffet happening at the moment. Not a Hogwarts one. It’s more like those all you can eat ones at the Manhattan or Smorgys – you promise yourself you’ll eat sensibly and have a scoop of peas with some mash and a schnitzel before calmly walking towards the dessert stand. You won’t do what you did last time and break the soft serve machine, while yelling out to the 15 year olds bringing out a third world country’s yearly consumption worth of food that they haven’t restocked the jelly cups for 10 minutes now. Do you really need 3 serves of chocolate mousse?
Of course you do. If you wanted to eat level-headedly you would have gone to Buccatini’s down the road. Fuck recommended daily intakes and screw any preconceived notion of self-control.
Patrick Wain - 18/6/2015