Perth trio The Limbs haven’t stopped toiling their way to local prominence since the release of their self titled EP back in 2014, the most recent product of such work ethic is their gorgeous sophomore EP, Beginner. To celebrate the launch this exciting new record, The Limbs pulled together a solid bill of support bands and descended upon Babushka Leederville on a Friday night. It would of been rude not to go.
As I scurried into Babushka fleeing the early winter rain, I was met with openers Marlinspike, who embraced the dark and disturbed regions of Psychedelia. One of Perth’s newest rock bands, I found myself quickly drawn to the hypnotic, tempestuous nature of their music. With influence rooted in mind-bending 60’s Blues, Marlinspike played straight, forceful Rock tainted with dark, ethereal prose and melodies. Their explorative guitarist’s flowing lines painted vast landscapes across the musical space, and a rowdy rhythm section crashed and tumbled through songs as their frontman sleepily droned over the wailing instruments in the mix below. Disorderly jams that may be too gritty for some, but for a band so young, the future holds promise for Marlinspike.
The second band of the night took the stage as a crowd began to fill the quaint little building. Hip Priest are an Indie Rock project derailed by noise. Their sound is acoustically palatable, with endearing hooks and oddball charm. But all that was drowned out by two clumsy guitarists blissfully unaware of how to use any of their equipment except the volume knob, which is unreservedly cranked into the stratosphere. The end result was the sound of The Kook’s cat being dropped into a blender of offensively loud overdrive pedals. It is beyond me how this band can expect a crowd to subject their hearing to such calamitous racket.
From the first grimy guitar strums of their set, Grunge unit Pat Chow established themselves as a different class of band to the previous supports. For a band who’s sound has been branded “Slacker Rock”, the three piece were deceivingly tight. The drums and bass were locked in from the start, with attractive pop choruses punctuating their thick noise and frontman Ben Protasceiwicz’s fiercely strained, uncivilized howl possessing beer-soaked appeal comparable to Aussie Punk royalty. They were as raw as the bands before them, but they had the heartfelt authenticity to make that rawness strikingly emotive. The sincerity of their unshackled timekeeping, inarticulate fuzz tones, and primitive Punk Rock interpretations of harmony left me positively charmed by Pat Chow.
The room had swelled to a relatively packed atmosphere with an attentive frontline of supporters when The Limbs took to the stage. As a broken Hi Hat stand delayed the set, frontman James Redman threw a few solo numbers in his melodious rasp. The Limbs hover around the perimeter of several genres. Lo Fi Indie Rock, Garage, Grunge and hints of uninhibited Pop all spring to mind. The Limbs brought with them a musicality not present in the previous acts. Redman’s tuneful vocals, their emphasis on dynamics, and the tasteful, chiming clean guitar tones are a breath of fresh air after an evening of sonic bludgeoning.
The new material really stood out in their set. The no-nonsense bounciness of “Running Scared” contrasting with the almost folky snarl of title track “Beginner” demonstrated a new calibre of maturity and breadth in their writing and performance. The epiphany on Beginner is “Flatline”; a melancholy, razor sharp chorus that ensnares your memory from the first listen. This track was also the high point of the set; that instant head-turning sort of track track every band wishes they had as the centerpiece of their record. The Babushka crowd lapped up the delicious delay licks and askew harmonies as they echoed around the room.
As the final crunchy chords fuzzed out bass notes rang out, The Limbs are met with wholehearted cheers from the delighted crowd with that post-gig euphoria reverberating between the band and it’s fans.
And thus concluded a night of eclectically intriguing and only somewhat organised noise at Babushka. I’m sure we will hear more good things of The Limbs very soon, as the warm gathering of supporters surely included many new fans after a memorable set. I left with a buzz in my head, but it might of just been my ears ringing.