Premiere: SYNTHETICS – CRUX EP (TENDER COLLECTION, 2019)

Words: James Frostick
Band image: Emily Herbert

Discordant Melbourne noise punks Synthetics are releasing their potent and acidic debut EP CRUX this month through Tender Collection. The EP is a cache of blasted and polluted noise, harnessed and focused into a potent sensory assault. Between the crunch and the clangour, Synthetics weave a brand of fury that is both nuanced and arresting.

I must confess my personal bias for crunchy noise. If a piece of music rumbles so heavily that I feel it in my gut, then I’m more inclined to respond. Perhaps its the primal nature of it – the all-encompassing wave that triggers a fight or flight response – that connects with me on an instinctual level, but I can’t help but dig it heavily. Synthetics is a crew that peddles the sort of wicked sound that tickles my sensibilities, and in good news for anyone in a similar boat as me, the Melbourne-based musical wrecking crew is today releasing its debut EP CRUX through Tender Collection.

For the uninitiated, the band is flush with accomplished musicians – creative minds skilled enough with their instruments to wrangle aural detritus and shape it to their will. Synthetics is Pete Bramley (Vacant Valley, Telekenet), Ash Wyatt (Red Red Krovvy, Ubik), Emma Dunstan (Hi-Tec Emotions) and Steve Patrick (Thug Mills, also currently playing with Magic Dirt). From the outset, The fearsome foursome’s six-track EP crackles with brutish intent. Crashing and relentless drumming lays the groundwork, topped with bullying bass that rumbles and chokes as it is simultaneously enveloped by tightly coiled and warped guitar evocations. Emma Dunstan’s vocals are the only safe purchase in the storm, rising above the harsh din but contributing its own exigency to the mix.

Despite CRUX‘s staunch aesthetics, Synthetics don’t trade in superficially grisly cliches. Emma’s lyrical contribution reveals equal parts vulnerability and ire, conveyed with such fervour that it couldn’t be propelled by anything but pure, honest emotion. Over six tracks Emma touches on topics including desire and physical intimacy (‘Skin on Skin’), societal failures and systemic injustice (‘Nowhere To Go’),  the weight of mental anguish (‘Lorelai’), the escape and lingering effects of fraught relationships (‘Sally’, ‘Blue Eyes’), and the unfettering of inhibitions experienced at the tipping point of genuine emotional connection (‘Sweet Nothings’). Each of CRUX‘s tracks reveal significant emotional heft, easily enough to match the weight of the band’s potent noise.

Few EPs have startled me to attention quite like CRUX. I’m already relishing the chance to one day catch this unit performing live. On that note, the tape will be officially launched on March 22 at a secret location in Collingwood. Support will be provided by FRAG, Plaster of Paris and Nightclub PTY LTD, so those fortunate enough to live close enough to attend better do so.

BANDCAMP / SOUNDCLOUD