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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews



My first introduction to Hazel Brown and her sister Martha was at the now infamous Casiotone For The Clinically Depressed And Suicidal gig at the Wombarra Bowls Club. I had rocked up a little early and was polishing off what would soon be revealed as a not completely cooked chicken schnitzel, when a tour van rocked up. Like a clown taxi at the circus, Lord Casiotone The Well Girthed himself exited the vehicle, as well as what I assumed were a couple of label mates, some tag alongs and some smokin' hot indie babes (the aforementioned Brown sisters). I distinctly remember it, because as I sliced through the pink middle of the chicken breast, I laughed out loud at the fact that a fat, hairy guy that played shitty keyboards to crowds of middy drinking locals at the Wombarra Bowls Club could still get groupies.

It wasn't until I wandered into the dining room/salmonella factory/performance space of the club, that I realized these hot indie chicks were actually the opening act. The Browns, along with Kishore "Fuck The Drums I've Got Kitchen Utensils" Ryan (also of the excellent Kid Sam) formed Otouto. And quite frankly, they were fuckin great! In fact it royally pissed off Senor Casiotone when I reached right past his layers of vinyls for sale and grabbed a copy of their single Sushi (I bought a couple of CFTPA buttons to keep him from holding his breath till he passed out).

Like the gig, the single was fantastic. Hazel's smooth vocals, stuffed full of Aussie vowel pronunciation, worked really well with her baritone guitar, her sister's slightly drunk keyboards and Kishore ruining his mum's new Scanpan.

The only off putting thing was the song contained some of the strangest lyrics in the Solar System: "I mistook a man eating sushi / For a man putting on a fake moustache / The rain makes it sound like there's someone else around / The rain makes it sound like there's someone else in the house / It rains on my heart as it rains on the town / On the corner I thought I dropped something / It was just a bird landing." Hazel Brown be trippin', yo!

But that didn't matter, because the sound of the actual band was the key to Otouto and they tickled my ears like I was having maple syrup drizzled on my eardrums. And that sickly sweetness has carried over to their debut LP, Pip.

The bat shit crazy lyrics are still there, but the whole record sounds beautiful and innocent, like it was recorded by 12-year-olds using things in their dad's back shed to make a song because it's raining and they can't go outside and play.

It's also totally unique sounding, which in this day and age is a fucking hard task. The whole record isn't perfect, but it's always pushing to be different and I think that is the perfect approach that bands (particularly Australian bands) should be aiming for.

So I'd like to take this opportunity to openly apologise to the Brown sisters for being a male chauvinist pig and assuming you ladies were a couple of groupies, because in my opinion your band is one of the most wonderful and interesting musical projects in Australia today.

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