Words: James Frostick
Band image and cover art: Summer Hiskens
I know I’ve said it before, but the point bears repeating: some of the best primitive clang that so-called Australia produces right now comes from Brisbane/Meanjin. Not exclusively, of course – and it should be stressed that there is some bias at play – but the swampy surrounds of the city’s humid and heat-stricken suburbs seem to be a breeding ground for buckled and distorted gear of the best kind. Bin Licker is one such Brisbane-based outfit responsible for the current wave of caustic crank. The trio is an offshoot of local wrecking crew Cold Fish, but where that band revels in a jagged and snarled thuggish punk sound, Bin Licker is an amalgam of industrial, goth and noise-punk. There are shades of distressed blues, scattered post-punk, damaged electronica and a few more intangible elements that are harder to grasp – but its a sound that resoundingly reverberates off the walls of our dingy music venues and shakes the foundations of our flimsy Queenslanders. All of that is coming together on Bin Licker’s new cassette release Cave Canem, which drops today via Eternal Soundcheck.
If there’s a few quick descriptors that sum up the EP from the outset, I’d go ahead and say it’s muscly, potent and smouldering. Wading further into the soupy muck, there’s a lot more to discover if you are game to plop your head under the surface. The gut-rumbling swollen bass thrum on Cave Canem’s opener ‘Adult Lies’ is accompanied by a nervy guitar skitter and eerie synth overlay, while vocals that sound as if they’re sung through a stolen traffic cone behind a brick wall sit low in the mix. ‘Big Burrd’ is a similarly blasted sonic escapade, but one that heightens its riffs with a prickly intensity. This janky shamble turns into a scratchy sprint on Cave Canem’s single ‘Pram’ – a careening joyride in a stolen automobile. ‘Pepsi Maximum’ wraps up proceedings with a blistering barrel-bottom blues stomp. Here Bin Licker pairs a synth twinkle with swaggering guitars and fuzzed bass thrum, all the while snippets of vocalised interjections warble in and out of earshot. Overall, I’d say Cave Canem is a beautifully dissonant release from a trio that are skilled in scraping together clumps of detritus and sculpting them into something enlivening. Listen here: