Monday, July 12, 2010

Richard in Your Mind Album Launch - My Volcano

Spectrum 3/7/2010

Richard in Your Mind launched their eagerly awaited (and from the crowd response, eagerly received) sophomore album My Volcano with an erupting showcase of old and new tunes. Spectrum was transformed into a mystical psych-space of sorts, complete with palm trees, peace symbol sculptures and parrots donned with leis (well, actually ducks painted as parrots. Richard couldn’t find parrots and he apologised for this.)

Blue Mountains act We Say BamboulĂ©e continue to conjure up soothing, poptimistic gems laced with hooks and amusement. It’s as if Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) recorded his reverie only to melt it down to its elemental, short-attention-span-satisfying form. Their performance cavorted between endearingly amateur and exceptionally refined.

Closing with Funeral Social, lead singer Doug Wright belted out a trumpet number with no-easy-feat intensity that left satisfaction ringing in the crowd’s ears.

When I last saw Kyu I embarrassingly shrugged them off like an ill-fitting shirt. Well, the shirt actually fit and the egg on my face was supplied by an enthralling performance. Freya Berkhout and Alyx Dennison meld haunting melodies with thunderous vocals to create an all encompassing sound of animalistic energy and unleashed passion and on Saturday, we were the victims of its potent grip.

Richard Cartwright, the lovably gawkish front man, seems to be the crux of the band’s popularity with his amiable presence and engaging hi-jinks. This was no different on Saturday as I, like many others I presume, could not take my eyes of this psychedelic magician and his musical antics.

Beguiling new tracks Birds and Tiny Colossus Face opened the night, introducing a more tropical sound (see marriage of steel drums and Caribbean beats with distorted riffs on My Volcano opening track.) The audience takes this in its stride; if there’s one thing you can expect from a RIYM performance it’s the myriad of sounds, genres and influences the band holds on their pallet.

A faulty mike only allows Richard to spur bizarre stage banter as he introduces his roadie friend Henry the ‘lucky magic man’ before a brief rant on how good sticky tape is. A taste of familiarity with The Valley as the sluggish melody drips from the speakers. Richard quickly snaps back to crowd engagement with his reggaesq-rap Cause we gotta fight / for our right / to not be uptight, right?

Crowd-pleaser The New Sun takes full advantage of the plethora of pedals and effects on offer and everyone loosens up that one extra bit. Little pockets of dancing break out and Richard spreads some confetti love.

I’m not sure what the turn of events were, I swear I turned away for only half a second and then all of a sudden Richard had his shirt off and was painting himself. While the band continued it’s extended jamming on what might have been Mongrowlia, Richard dressed himself in a beaming blood-eyed yeti beast costume and rocked out the only way he knows how- with distorted flare and canny tenacity.

In my opinion, the music isn’t that amazing but it’s interesting. While the performance failed to melt my face into a watery puddle of awe (as most psychedelic rockers aim to do) it made up for it with its distinct creativity. A-Grade freak out music, could you ask for more?

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