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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews


The Mess Hall
For The Birds

Burke Reid poos gold and jizzes rainbows. I'm not sure what his sexual preference is, but I can tell you this much - the guy's a fuckin genius at fiddling with knobs.

Not only did he produce what is arguably the greatest Australian album of the last decade (The Drones' Havilah), as well as a number of other great local releases in recent years, he's now whipped out his magic wand and gone *POOF* all over The Mess Hall's latest LP, For The Birds.

I've never really been into The Mess Hall. I just thought they were part of the whole 'blues rules/bass blows' crowd. But I had a throbbing rager goin' when I heard that Optimus Reid had produced their latest effort. That coupled with my first listen to the lead single, Bell, clued me onto the fact that The Mess Hall had made a major sonic shift since their previous recordings.

Like a couple of notable American two pieces before them, The Mess Hall have decided to move on from their simplistic guitar and drum set up, and to incorporate moody keys and organs to alter their sound.

And what a fucking amazing sound it is. The whole album is a deep, dark and twisted groove session. Delta blues, funk, soul, swamp rock and every other badass, swaggering kind of sub genre of music you can think of has been rolled up, beaten over the head with a 2x4, run over, soaked in bourbon and set alight - all to produce a sound that has been done so many times before, but for some reason still sounds totally fresh here.

This is where Burke Reid's influence kicks in. There always seems to be twelve instruments playing at once, but none of them ever take the limelight over the others. The album's also been mixed in a way so that when you sit there with phones on, it sounds like shit is being thrown at you from all side of the room. And that shit sounds rad.

Fuzzed out guitar; percussion that sounds like it's been chewed up and spat out; haunting backing vocals; throbs of organ; reverbed hand claps; tickles of piano; all serve to reinforce Jed Kurzel's slacker vocals. He never bothers to try and show off his singing skills, because he doesn't need to. Just the tone of his voice is enough to make you think he's packin' a 12 inch wang.

My only critique is the two slowed down and stripped back numbers Marlene and Swing Low. I can understand that they were going for a change of pace with both, but I think the album would've have been much tighter and 'complete' without them.

In the end I could go through each song on this record and tell you how fuckin' good it is and come up with a bunch of shitty metaphors and similes to try and describe them to you. But quite frankly, that'd just be wasting time that you should actually be listening to this album.

So just drop whatever you're doing, go out and get it. NOW!

Note: You may also want to purchase some towels and a mop or something to clean up the mess you'll make after you blow your load over how good it is.

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Record Reviews
The Mess Hall


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Burke Reid also produced, and contributed to, their last album, the equally enjoyable Devils Elbow. Rav, you need to cut down on your porn consumption.

1 decade ago

Jonny Yes Yes

yeh.. but devils elbow was his trial run... this was the real shit..

1 decade ago


@ tim_harrington, did know that, but thanks for the tip off, Captain Fact Check. And there's no such thing as too much porn.

1 decade ago


Featured review in next month's KZone magazine, I say.

1 decade ago

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