Deaf Wish - Lithium Zion

by Nathan Fidler Rating:5 Release Date:2018-08-03
Deaf Wish - Lithium Zion
Deaf Wish - Lithium Zion

It’s always hard to pinpoint what defined a 10 or 5-year period until you look back on it much later, but when we look back at this portion of the decade, it would be easy to argue that having an Australian accent was key. Deaf Wish rumble out their second album, Lithium Zion, all the way from Melbourne.

The first thing you’ll notice about the tracks on this album is that they make decent songs on their own, but play the album as a whole and you’ll feel like you’ve endured a dreary chunk of music. ‘Metal Carnage’ lives up to the title, with guitars straining to be out of tune and Jensen Tjhung railing on vocals in a proto-punk fashion. ‘The Rat Is Back’ is more of the same, simply slowed down to a treacle pace.

A great weapon they do have in their arsenal is Sarah Hardiman, giving as tough as her surname would suggest on vocals, asking “pass me the hammer” on ‘FFS’. Underutilised as she is, the band forges on, and just when it feels like they’ve really struck the balance between pace and an appropriately driving riff on ‘The Ox’ it gets ruined by tiresome spoken-word vocal.

There are plenty of songs you can throw yourself around to, adding some menace on ‘Deep Blue Cheated’, but melodically you’re not going to be singing any of this back to yourself. Nor will you hanker for repeat listening; you’ll simply nod along, appreciate the noise and stand at the back while the band does their thing - regardless of whether the amps are broken or the levels are askew. Opener ‘Easy’ shifts around with a moody, dense bassline and could be desert/stoner rock, but lacks the impact in the vocals.

‘Afraid For You’ offers up a genuine riff, doubled up vocals and makes the band sound almost at peace, but more turgid guitars languishing at the back of this mix - as they are on most of the tracks - create unnecessary tension. It’s a crackling tension and it could be put to better use if there were the odd song which hit out with breakneck pace, but as a whole it’s hard to get through because you feel like there is never a release.

While it remains true that Australia is producing some of the most exciting and inventive rock, playing like the bands they listened to growing up but with their own style, this album isn’t the pinnacle of that.

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