Britannica Online defines art as “the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others.” If that’s the case, Newtown/LA/Brisbane/Sydney/LA/Sydney based group The Art have been sharing not only their skill and imagination with audiences over the last 3 or so years but have been creating and infusing a sound and aesthetic that goes beyond that of a mere band pushing out tune after tune in the vain hope of cashing in on whatever scene or genre happens to be that month’s particular flavour.
After dragging themselves from the physical and mental burnout of 8 years on the road coupled with the industry inferno that destroyed their previous band The Follow, a couple of line-up shifts, a few jumps back and forth over the pacific and a name change later, this 4-piece are now treading a solid and understandably cautious trail this time over. Instead of running straight into the burning house that is the record industry, this time ‘round, the band have carefully and methodically mapped out a career based on solid songs, confidence, structure and following your instincts, rather than doing what others tell you and relying on the wrong people controlling your ideas and direction who are usually just out for themselves.
Listening to the progression from The Follow’s debut release to The Art’s self-titled EP and first album Here Comes The War, to new track Dirty Girl, it’s easy to see this is a band that creates imagery, emotion and collections of songs rather than just banging out radio-ready singles. The scope and influence involved in the ascent of their sound is as eclectic as it is refreshing, pooling influences together to create eerily familiar, yet newly unrecognizable soundscapes that grow and mature with each release. The addition of lead guitarist Jak at the juncture of The Follow and The Art is the dark, familiar stranger and perfect partner to Azaria’s soaring vocals and plays a key role in setting the musical tone of many of the songs, gauging deep attacking strokes and gentle subtle wisps within seconds of each other and building a tsunami of sound that ties each member’s particular parts together to help create and infuse the experience that is, The Art.
Much has been written about the high’s and low’s of the band’s already amazing journey thus far and in the last year it was hard to miss hearing about tours supporting everyone from band favorite The Pixies, through to Them Crooked Vultures, Marilyn Manson and BRMC just to name a few. But this last year, although still chalking up many a gig on the board, we have not been seeing them on their own as regularly. The band has, however, been hard at work continuing recording and writing new tracks for a future album. They have also put out a digital release of new single Dirty Girl and have been getting multiple tracks played on LA rock radio show Rodney On The Roq (Rodney Bingenheimer) at American institution KROQ, getting their US fans ready for their SXSW appearance and tour through March-May, where they will also play alongside current Soundwave attendees Steel Panther at LA’s House of Blues.
Band co-founders, singer/songwriter Azaria and Bass player KJ have been at the helm of this beast from the start and after 10 years, countless tours, country hopping again and again, much media fanfare, 2 bands, 2 LPs, 3 EPs, multiple members, working and playing with some of the biggest names in the game, adoration form peers and idols alike and a massive 2012 ahead, this band’s fight and grit is paying off to give the quartet the slow-roasting goodness of a tender back catalogue, rather than the flash in the pan, here one second gone the next variety of single-based bands that are unfortunately becoming the norm. Be sure to catch The Art at the Gaelic Club this Fri 9th before they take off on their US tour and SXSW showcase.