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Lower Plenty - Hard Rubbish

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Artist: Lower Plenty

Album: Hard Rubbish

Label: Fire

Review date: Aug. 29, 2013

Lower Plenty is composed of musicians from a number of local acts in Melbourne, Australia. The group hasn’t yet attracted much high profile press, but under-the-radar media coverage has been positive enough to suggest international recognition might be on the horizon. The outfit’s short and sparse lo-fi folk-pop is far from imposing, but its minimalism has a plain, understated charm. There’s melancholic ennui here but nothing — any other reports to the contrary — that we should take seriously. Lower Plenty’s disaffection is not exactly moving, but it is youthful emotion without melodrama or too much irony. That’s something, I guess.

The band’s second record, Hard Rubbish, recently received an international release. The clear highlight of the set is “Strange Beast.” The band’s male and female co-lead singers duet together: “Loneliness, is the biggest killer in the world / Name a disease, and multiply the death toll…Dance with me, strange beast / Dance with me, strange beast.” This is not devastating poetry, but there is something sociologically astute about the matter-of-fact resignation with which these Aussies sing. Their not-all-that-painful awareness of the problem of isolation generates an appropriately half-hearted embrace of awkward locking of arms. Diegetic music for Lena Denham’s Girls, perhaps?

Hard Rubbish is only a simulacrum of thoughtful, accomplished indie rock of the post-adolescent doodling variety. (I’m willing to grant that such a thing exists). The members of Lower Plenty seem to know their place, keep ambition in check, and capture a distinct ambiance, if not an ethos. Though it clocks in at less than 25 minutes, it will be easy to avoid ever listening to this album again. It will be somewhat harder to avoid all social settings in which this music would be appropriate.

By Benjamin Ewing

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