From all the notable phrases and obscene outbursts borne unto this world via the great gonzo-journalist Hunter S. Thompson, one of my favorites is “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” I guess it all comes down to each individuals definition of weird, which in this day and age with the crowd hanging around on Earth everyday could be just about anything that exists outside of the strictures from which we’ve built our lives.
This idea of what is weird and or not is especially important when one is speaking about artistry in any way shape or form. To some, cubism and Jackson Pollock’s paint splatters are argued as furiously as cause célèbre. Just like with religion, as with art, music, literature etc., people go looking for clues and symbols desperately trying to piece together some semblance of meaning, of something that makes sense to them.
In this day and age with everyone being able to weigh in their opinions via different platforms of social media as soon as something they disagree with happens in the world, it is often now hard Australian band Trampoline Death Machine, their debut record Gasoline Washing Machine is twenty-one minutes of lo-fi wackiness and madness that is centered around the nine-plus minute title track, which sounds more like a rehearsal space jam session than an actual song.
To its credit it’s got some nice bits in it, especially the ones that sound like Dungen rip-offs, but after a time it just becomes white noise in a sense. The opening track “Choo Choo Train” stereotypical smattering of guitar noise whitewashed with sound effects that builds up for a minute and then ends, which one could also say is the same thing happening on the short and odd “Sauron.”
There is nothing really holding the music together, no sinewy. Trampoline Death Machine cite fellow Aussie psych-rock wunderkinds King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard as major influencers, and I can hear their paeans hard and fast in the spirit of these songs. However while the band are decent copyists of King Gizzard’s surface style, they fail to provide the mathematical mastery that band is truly lauded for, and not just for having hazy guitars and a flute jam together.
Despite my honest opinion of the Gasoline Washing Machine sounding very critical I still think the band itself has a ton of potential, something that also shines through on this album. I believe as these guys mature and make more music together that their sound will start to take the shape that they want it too. What I enjoy most is charting the evolution of an artist’s career, and I’ll be waiting patiently to hear what kind of professionalized weirdness Trampoline Death Machine come back with.
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