The opening track of an album, I feel, essentially establishes the band’s relationship with their audience. Some first songs slap you in the face and others coax you in softly. ‘Hello, My Name Is’ feels like it wants to tell the story of Not Art as it lifts and falls, changing its style and influence as the songs do. Tom Iansek calls out “I’m not a faceless, not a racist, not a fraction, I’m not a whore wanting more” whilst the music crescendoes behind him, showcasing how Not Art is wonderfully deceptive. It’s hard to believe there is only the two of them, Iansek switching between guitar and keys while Jo Syme drums and occasionally takes control of the vocals.

By third track ‘Harmony Sometimes’ my perceptions of what kind of music Not Art is housing becomes muddled, I’m somewhat at a loss of how I would describe it. I will openly admit that my passion for music doesn’t necessarily lead to me having a vast knowledge of it. Not Art sounds like an accumulation of the different influences that Iansek and Syme has. It’s kind of like that montage in Bring It On where they study different variations of dance genres before combining their influences into one awesome routine (Dear God did I just reference a cheerleading movie from my teenage years…)

‘Belgian Blues’ shows a definite Jeff Buckley influence, Iansek sounds like he sang his parts standing in the middle of an empty warehouse, an yet the hollow sound of his voice breathes a strange life into this song. It leads into ‘Phil Collins’ (Editor’s Note: The song ‘Phil Collins’ not the legendary, former Genesis drummer of the same name), which with its thumping minimalist drum sound, echoing guitar and layered vocals transports me and I feel the soil of a forest beneath my feet, dappled light coming down through the trees. Not Art is an album that takes you on a journey, each song bringing you somewhere new.

It’s hard to pick a standout track, for I feel that each song has a unique beauty to it. Big Scary’s Not Art is a wonderful, brooding collection of songs that gets better with each subsequent listen. Somehow its moodiness fills me with a comforting warmth, kind of like Melbourne in the rain.

9/10

Dee Dee Magee

 

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