CD REVIEW: POTATO STARS – The Bill EP
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
The Potato Stars’ legend is writ large on the Perth underground music scene – so deep underground that they can justifiably lay claim to being one of the purest, noise-based rock n’ roll bands this town has produced – not so much underrated as under-known, despite forming in 1995 and having many line-up changes along the way.
The Bill is something like their ninth release, and it’s a suitably raucous affair – all low-end sludge rock, surly noisepunk attitude and fiercely independent and original in every way. They’re also the gnarliest looking group of sonic misfits we’ve seen since The Scientists spawned The Beasts Of Bourbon.
The title track is a mesmerically thrusting homage to long-running Brit crime show The Bill, complete with sampled altercations and the chanted “I ain’t sayin’ nothin’ til I’ve seen my brief” refrain over a bass line which drills into the heart of the listener.
From Maylands To Graylands – detailing the descent from affluent suburb to mental institution – is part insightful social commentary, part satirical pisstake, and part swampy punk trance, it’s swirling lo-fi keynotes hypnotically pulsating for five-and-a-half minutes that take the listener on their own trip close to madness.
Long-time champions of other local musos, here they cover The Triffids’ My Baby Thinks She’s A Train, its spacey psych rock treatment fitting in perfectly, before an even raunchier reprise – or “remanded” version – of The Bill.
Dangerously and determinedly cult, Potato Stars dance, rock and scream to the beat of their own drum, making quality but unapologetically niche music whilst never forgetting their own mantra, “success is not an option.”
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