Every great album has that one emotional element that holds it all together. Okay, some don’t. But Bloody Lovely certainly does and it is ‘Total Meltdown’.
Previous album Bloodstreams had velocity and riffs that circled around your head. Black Rat proved Shane and Simon could occasionally hit you over the head with something profound. ‘Total Meltdown’ takes the better of both and wraps it around an enormous chorus. Halfway between cathartic release and panic attack, the single arrived as this album’s third but it’s so potent it’s questionable why it didn’t lead the pack.
It’s here that DZ Deathrays conjure Lovely’s all-important emotional centre. Hopelessness is an emotion so big and suffocating it’s outside of regular human expression. Yet it is a feeling conveyable through song, which is why ‘Meltdown’ flies so intoxicatingly off the handle.
This story’s protagonist never makes it to the place where they’re chancing it with that special someone. They’re never there having their heart caved in. Instead, they sit blankly in some suburban bedroom. Okay, maybe it’s a kitchen floor as the lyric suggests. Maybe they’re outside kicking the back fence.
If they made it any further they’d be lost in sweltering heat and ennui. A world of blank stares and a malignant sameness that squashes even the thought of getting away. This feeling might be lost on those who’ve led lives within the gleaming metropolis of Australia’s southern states, but for anyone else, it’s the narcotic truth. This is suburban Queensland and a thousand other places too.
[Just on an aside, are these ‘dead eyes’ reflecting those from ‘Gina Works at Hearts’? Is it that kitchen floor the self-same from ‘No Sleep’? Deep!]
‘Shred For Summer’ precedes. A hard-rocking call to arms, it’s the kind of festival knockout the group has so often insisted they’re chasing. There’s plenty of rhythmic push.
The two bulldozer tracks kick loose into seven pleasing ones. The spontaneous outbursts of ‘Feeling Good, Feeling Great’ would sit comfortably alongside any one of Nirvana’s archetypical headbangers. ‘Guillotine’ and ‘Bad Influence’ are evidence that Ridley and Parsons still carry a torch for the Beastie Boys. But after the pure ear-bashing charisma of Bloody’s openers, these thrashers simmer closer to enjoyable than earth-shattering.
‘Afterglow’ casts a tender light which quickly vanishes into ‘Witchcraft Pt. II’. The closer plays out as twisted melodrama littered with heavy vibrations. It’s a perfect late-set shredder.
Rock ‘n’ roll as rule shouldn’t mature. It’s the rebellion of youth, perpetual spirals of anger and angst. When it does the game is up. You can’t fake it.
DZ aren’t pretending. The duo of now-accomplished musicians are ten years into the game and still, capably, drawing from the delinquent headspace of teenage wasteland.
As a whole, Bloody Lovely is bigger, louder, and more exciting than anything that’s come before. It’s also added some subtle complexity. If the pair’s next move is pulling the pathos of ‘Meltdown’ into the sheer impact of ‘Shred’ they’ll have an all-time-great. If they can then roll out an album of these, they’ll be legends. Bloody Lovely puts forward the possibility. It’s not something beyond their grasp.
Full on and highly recommended.