Serious Beak - Ankaa (Art As Catharsis Records)

Nurse! I'm having an episode...
Release Date: 
3 Nov 2015 - 12:30am

My Word! Australia's Serious Beak are back - and I say a mighty 'Hoorah' to that. The prog-noise-math-core-avant-garde-psychedelic warlords bring us their second album Ankaa, a mere four years after their debut Huxwhukw; and it's equally as fruity and just as impossible to compartmentalise with the limited power of words. Maybe I should just post a picture of a scribble over a beautiful landscape painting or perhaps post a photo of a dog plop on a delicous looking cake? Such are the contradictions that Ankaa present the listener with.

Continuing their love of song titles that twist the tongue into a contorted piece of old bacon that's fallen behind the fridge, the album kicks off with Proto (Menura novaehollandiae). It's prog-noise and spasmodic, arrhythmic yet spacey and vast in scope. In the words of a weeping reality TV dupe "There are no words" as we are plunged into some mentalist sound-scape of twiddling widdling guitars, crashing drums and fat chord madness. It's bloody good stuff. Possibly confusing and/or disorientating but nonetheless bloody, bloody good.

Main Sequence (Dacelo novaeguineae) is next, and being 13 minutes long, you're taken on a grand tour around the band's visionary imagination. There's so much going on that I just kept coming back to this album (indeed, I only really stopped listening to it due to other review commitments). I need to see these peeps pull this shit off live. The track finishes with a kookaburra (I think?) cackling away before Red Laniocera hypopyrra) comes creeping in. This, I think, is one of my favourites. Violent yet quite beautifully composed, the drumming is a massive highlight for me, reinforcing my need to see this band in the flesh. It slips from crushing madness to grooving jazz-esque sections and back again without losing a step. Surely I can't take any more of those fiery solos? Yes. Yes, I can. And I'll have some more of that djenty goodness too, while you're at it. After about ten minutes of exploratory insanity, it all cools down a touch with the shimmering Heat Death (Teratornithidae) with it's shoe-gaze post-rock yearning strains. Oh! How I pondered the meaningless existential void to this one. The delicate guitar work is somehow both gentle and crushing and achingly gorgeous - especially with the shards of piano cutting through. A fitting end to an excellent, excellent album. Tour. Now. Please.