The Trendees – We Are Sonic Art


[Albert’s Basement; 2017]

Where the term noise pop has come to characterise a certain lineage of indie groups with ornamental scuff and strain, The Trendees build it straight off the plan.  Like Half Japanese and other garage noiseniks before them, the NZ three-piece take the blueprint of a pop song and brick it with paddle pop sticks and asbestos.  Guitars gnash, drums spill out the meter and vocals buckle at full tilt as the three-piece render their tunes as unfaithfully as gleefully possible.  They’ve lathed some fine renderings for this LP but you can imagine these 7 cuts contorting into completely different beasts every time the band hit the stage. 

Going hand in hand with the mangled pop antics are the lyrics (from what you can pluck out): the intimacy of the familiar, passing the time, “boring parties” – small town indifference. The album art is exhibit B – a faceless dilapidated backyard that could easily be hosting its own boring parties in the suburbia of your choice.  Whether it comes from a place of bucolic affection or ennui for their hometown of Oamaru I couldn’t say for certain, but I suspect they wouldn’t back either.   It’s not a curse, it’s not a blessing; it’s just there.

But despite the dereliction, ‘We Are Sonic Art’ never bleeds into seedy territory.   This is daytime noise no doubt about it.  And in the ballad-y moments in particular (“Centre of Town”/“Boring Party”) the slightest of a sunny disposition shines through the pandemonium, like an X or Replacements record churned through a cement mixer. 

The album title says it all – this band isn’t preoccupied with the politicking of noise as philosophical endeavour.  They just play their tunes the only way they know how: fast, loud and combustible, like a steam train on a track laced with pennies.  And it’s one beautiful racket.

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