Only The Sea Slugs @ Yah Yahs, Fitzroy – October 27, 2011 | Live Review

Review by Ben Connolly

  Rock can be such a bitch of a game. One day you’re the toast of the town, an EP in the shops, a film clip on Rage and some choice words thrown your way from the national youth music broadcaster. Then you decide to cram all your gear into a van and tumble a thousand kilometres south only to be greeted by a mid-week pub, almost empty apart the other bands on the bill and a few uneager passers-by; shitty sound only adds to the drama. And that’s where it all goes pear-shaped for Sydney-siders Only The Sea Slugs with its recent gig at Melbourne’s Yah Yah’s.

Releasing their new mini-album Street Music just last month, Only The Sea Slugs are proving to be a real promise – enigmatic enchanting indie rock which is finally shunning cutesy bells and whistles and rediscovering the joys of a crunchy guitar or two.

And with a muddy, dense and lack-lustre sound desk, it’s only the crunchy guitars and the din of the hi-hat cymbals which can be adequately made out amongst the wall of noise. Sadly, Zoran’s keys and Sasha’s broody, half-mumbled lyrics become strained window dressings. What can be heard speaks of a solid undercurrent where mid 90s intelligent rock is the touch-stone, rather than inane 80s clatter and over-excited high-tempo innocence.

Earlier single Big Sky and album track The Simple Intricacy of My Paranoia resonate due to their familiarity and easily digestible hooks, but it serves to highlight the frustration that the more complex songs are lost in the din short 30 minute run. With hardly a warm-up, the agitated set comes to an abrupt and shattering halt as current single Moonpark is disrupted before the keyboard outro: a simple sound-man stuff up which pushes the band over the edge (and almost leads to a blow up with the poor soundie). The beast of a rock game can never be tamed, it seems.

Review by Ben Connolly