Musicians Julian Bolleter and Andrew Ewing both spent the early part of their careers playing in different bands. Bolleter, a songwriter and keyboard player from Perth, Western Australia had played in the bands Colourvision, Skew Road and the cover band Nightmoves. Ewing, who emigrated to Perth from Hong Kong in 1993 played in the rock band Thumb that released a string of albums before disbanding around the turn of the century. Afterwards he began a solo career and played supporting roles for Jose Gonzalez and Black Eyed Susans; the latter which included former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri.
Bolleter and Ewing became acquainted while working with fellow Perth musician Benedict Moleta. It led Bolleter to invite Ewing to play with him and the two began writing songs under their own combined names. Their first album as a band is the somber and mystical As We Walk To The End.
The songs are built around Bolleter’s sparse yet ebullient keyboard arrangements and Ewing’s dark baritone and foreboding lyrics. As We Walk To The End, with its haunting arrangements and vocals recalls at once the darkness of their Australian brethren Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Ewing’s vocals even echo the draconian tone which Cave is so famous for.
Most of the songs on As We Walk To The End have that foreboding tone to them. It’s the kind of album that you want to listen to after the sun has set, even more preferably in utter darkness in a quiet space. The opener “No One Else” sets the dark mood with Ewing singing in his studded baritone “she prefers to watch the band on her own / cigarette in hand she feels free,” as Bolleter works the whirling spacey keys and effects in the background like some mad wizard behind the curtain.
Next the ambient piano and splashes of orchestral pop sets the voyeuristically loving lyrics Ewing lets out “I’m not the kind of guy people say,” and one imagines him looking down at his feet after he delivers these lines. There is power here. We hear this power again on “Lovers” which gets its lift from the addition of steely guitars reminiscent of mid-period Cure. This reminiscence is also found on the slow yet melodic doldrums of “I Owe It All to You.”
There is a certain repetitiveness to the songs on As We Walk To The End. I didn’t mind it much though because after a while I thought I was listening to some unreleased Joy Division demos. But that’s exactly what most of As We Walk To The End will end up sounding like to most who are looking for something that doesn’t sound like one long song. However if you’re a manic depressive night owl that finds themselves scowling at sunrise like a vampire, you’re gonna love this record.
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