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Good things come in small, strange packages—like the debut self-titled by Brisbane, Australia’s DEAFCULT, a six-piece guitar group of powerful proportions. Their enamored yet violent flow persists without interruption on the seven tracks contained, reaching a satiated climax by the closing track “TURING.” Unison male-female vocals just barely make themselves known above a bed of roaring treble and blistering bass, calling to mind the late-80s power-pop shoegaze of bands like Galaxie 500 and My Bloody Valentine. Breaking away from the dreamy consistency of those free-flowing, listless records, however, DEAFCULT possesses absolute urgency, seemingly responding to an impending sense of doom.

Despite the bleak ambiguity of seething chord progressions that bend and blur into one another as an often indecipherable droning, particularly on tracks “AKIRA” and “HEATHEN FLOW,” the record maintains an air of defiant positivity, expressing exhilaration and euphoria in the face of possible peril. It’s most clear on “SAFETY MATCHES,” a tranquil number that picks up with an oceanic humming of guitars and one buoyant bassline before submitting to the controlled chaos that defines this record.

“TURING,” to be featured on Beko Disques forthcoming compilation Do It Better Vol. 2, might be a slight nod to Alan Turing, a pioneering computer scientist and the father of artificial intelligence who died tragically young in 1954 after he was prosecuted by the British government for being a homosexual (the punishment was chemical castration). The track meanders for several mellow seconds, a brief interlude that’s abruptly dismissed by a thunderous wave of crashing guitar lines. Here, the energies alternate from raucous to placid between affecting verses, nearly drowned out by the ensuing calamity. You can make out a word or two here and there, like “forever,” but their denotations don’t seem to matter as much as the way they are expressed—vexed and stricken with a kind of grief that can only be combated through sound.

Stream DEAFCULT below.

Angel E. Fraden

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