Day Ravies – Tussle

Despite the reference to the Kinks with the band’s name, Ray Davies’ 60s dandies seem more there in spirit than in direct influence to the sound of his jumbled up namesake.

Sydney four piece Day Ravies, equipped with their new album ‘Tussle’, are surely about to march defiantly into your iTunes library with the velocity of an Ian Curtis dance move.

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In keeping with this image, the album is more than likely one that the enigmatic Joy Division front man would have had no qualms dancing to; the languid lingerings of the low-fi guitar and punching percussion striking a DNA match between Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’ and Day Ravies’ excellent ‘Jasmine’, one of the stand out tracks on the album. This leads into the similar ‘Cocoon’, which is just as punchy and right in the middle of a little bunch of tracks that are very much a purple patch for the album.

This fruitful pocket of songs carries the withering torch of post punk frustration and anger; echoing the fuzzy angst of the Fall and the Jesus and Mary Chain. The explosive ‘Pinky’ an authentic burst of punk rigour, but reveals a beautiful side with the angelic female lead.

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Day Ravies go on to carry messages of uncertainty and haziness through the whole album; glutenous dollops of reverb and echo caresses tracks like ‘I Don’t Mind’, ‘Double Act’ and, in particular, the wonderful ‘Steeple Walk’, a three-minute sound scape more characteristic of an ethereal dream than a song.

As you reach the end, though, the golden nuggets that were ‘Pinky’ and ‘Jasmine’ a distant memory, it’s hard not to think that the album could have done with a little bit more of the same in the second half. That said, what goes up must come down, I suppose, and when the album takes its foot from the pedal it also takes a calm turn into pleasant pastures. What you get with ‘Tussle’ as a whole is an experience that has a few particularly good highs but no really poor moments, by a band that have carved out their own (fairly) original take on some much loved sounds of yesteryear.

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Ryan McMurtry

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