The Red Paintings - The Revolution is Never Coming

by Greg Spencer Rating:6 Release Date:2013-09-30

When you see that The Red Paintings are an Australian art-rock group, it'd be quite easy to get slightly sniffy before you hear a single note played on their début studio album. If you make that mistake it would be regrettable because the album is surprising, beautiful, pompous, ridiculous, and a truckload of other contradictory adjectives, but I'm sure this group wouldn't have it any other way.

Okay, so firstly the album is pretty long. There's a bunch of seven-minute-plus tracks and the only song under four minutes is the opener. It's pretty epic and aims high in terms of concept.

The first song after the 'short' intro is 'Dead Children'. The depressing title aside, the song actually drags for a while. You end up thinking it's fairly monotonous and boring, but a couple of minutes in you actually become enthralled by it and the unique nature of the band's sound. It also helps that the song goes a little mental towards the end with distorted guitars and such.

The same happens with the next track (which incidentally uses some of the same note structures as its predecessor). It seems to get better about halfway through, but for a seven-minute song it just doesn't keep your attention well enough. Unlike 'You're Not One of Them', which has a 30 Seconds to Mars vibe and feels like the band are going for it with real bite instead of the same softly-softly approach which unfortunately plagues quite a few of their tracks. It also manages to keep in with the motif of using orchestral instruments, which the band do very well throughout the record.

The problem with the album as a whole is that it almost feels so epic and so much like the band are trying to enforce a wide scope that it actually becomes quite difficult to get your teeth into. It struck me six-and-a-half-minutes into 'Hong Kong' (when lead vocalist Trash McSweeney is shouting "Hong Kong!" over an almost math-core like soundscape) that I had no clue what was happening in the song or any sense of cohesiveness, and so the songs just become a little inscrutable.

Overall, it's an album that die-hard fans of this band will probably kill for. However, for those of us who need some sort of through-line and linear cohesion, or who just want to be able to kick back and enjoy a record without the obtuseness of some difficult concept, this is a hard album to properly like or get excited about. Although The Red Paintings probably won't care whatsoever about divided opinion. One listen to The Revolution is Never Coming makes it clear that this group aren't really down for following the pack.

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