Aural Deluge No.2: Alpaca Brothers – ‘The Lie’

They come from a land Down Under…

I have recently become rather obsessed with the musical exports of an oft overlooked but incidentally rich indie-pop treasure trove – New Zealand. Starting with anything released on Flying Nun, a label which houses more than a handful of my favourite bands (The Chills, The Clean, The Bats, Tall Dwarfs, The Verlaines, to name a few), there is definitely something about the Antipodean sensibility which makes for consistently frenetic and melodic guitar-based avant-punk outpourings of the highest calibre, bands who, despite their shared geography, still retain their uniqueness, meaning that generic traits and comparisons are pretty hard to come by.

Take ‘The Lie’ by Alpaca Brothers, for example. It’s a dirty start for a song framed by two sparring vocalists who spit out their words (“I don’t like my chances on the inside, on the inside”) whilst unfurling a rattling punk ditty. Undercut by a kind of beachy surf-rock hook and balanced out by swirling guitars, there’s enough speed strumming to make your fingers bleed. It’s also spiky and angular in a Gang of Four kind of way – although the remainder of the ‘Legless’ EP arguably demonstrates this post-punk edge more profoundly. ‘Legless’ was the only thing the trio ever released on Flying Nun (in 1986) but they took on a different guise in the nineties to form Trash who apparently sound like “a combination of the Velvet Underground and Motorhead as they had defined it a decade earlier.” Men at Work.

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