23 May 2019
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Churlington - EP Review: The Andy Anderson EP

22 May 2017 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Andy/Neville Anderson/James is one of the least-famous famous people in New Zealand. The actor-slash-singer was in the middle distance of film and television from our youth, before, and after, and many of us didn’t even know it. He even releases his own albums, one on the same day as Churlington’s The Andy Anderson EP allegedly.

All things I would never know if it wasn’t for this album.

One thing I still don’t know: Why choose Andy Anderson as the cover and title of your post-punk album? I suspect the answer is “Why not?” though I would still like to see the email the band purportedly sent to Andy explaining the reason for choosing him as the theme.

But enough about Andy Anderson for now, and on to more pressing issues.  

Something has changed in Churlington.

It’s not just the way they name their songs. For those new to this band (perhaps you saw them at the $lave Collective album release show) previous Churlington releases used quotes from old 80s and 90s films as track titles. I liked that. It set them apart from other bands, and it was a nice little timewaster trying to guess the film. That system has been abandoned for The Andy Anderson EP, unless there was a quote in Jaws about provincial Manawatu town Feilding that I somehow missed.

While forgoing one idiosyncrasy, one has remained. The mixing. They’re not a band to mess around. They present their idea, their mix of riffs and subdued screams, then move on. Yet the stereo mix sounds so carefully constructed, it feels as if each of the nine short burst of energy on the album feel like one continuation of the same song, broken up sporadically by a small audio clip, just long enough to catch your breath.

It seems wrong to use the over-diagnosed term OCD to describe something that, on the surface at least, appears very chaotic and unrestrained, but a lot of obsessive care has gone into this album’s construction.

This contributes to the apparent shift from their punk-like nonchalance, that kind of Ramones-like attitude where you turn up in what you’re wearing and just play, to something quite calculated, yet still so effortless. Like they’ve reigned in the chaos and made it their bitch.

Post-punk, I guess you’d call that. Taking all that pent-up outward aggression and compressing it into a tense, high pressured simmer.  Screaming through clenched teeth.

Beneath the guitars recorded deep underwater and drums performed in a chest cavity, xenomorph-style, there are songs that would hold up live, dripping with sweat and angst, in front of a mosh of punks, who are ironically quite discerning when it comes to music.

There is one thing I’ve noticed about this band. They piss me right off.

Why? Because of the dirty green envy I feel listening to their albums as a failed bedroom musician. There are pieces that are so simple, I have to face-palm right through my skull and exclaim “Why did I not do that?”

The way F**k Sand builds and then releases is like a balloon popping with the relief that act of anticipated destruction brings. The way I built songs was like letting off a wet balloon while trying to make an ill-proportioned, pink, rubbery dachshund.

Screw those guys.

Churlington are still at their peak, which they have been since their first release, but a lot can happen in the next thirty minutes.

If they quit while they’re ahead, and fade away, the whole hip world is going to be at a loss, even if they don’t realise yet that they need Churlington in their lives.

If they release one too many albums, they could burn out their inspiration, sell out their artistic integrity, and implode.

Or they could get noticed by those in the know and explode to the level of their underground forefathers. A place they deserve to be.

Maybe that’s the tie to Andy Anderson? Maybe Churlington are the Andy Anderson of the Post-Punk world; there for all to see, yet no one knows where to look. Yet.

I can feel it. They’re only one step away from attaining the national fame they deserve, even if that’s not their aim or goal. Where they go from here could either be the beginning or the end of the band, and I’m hoping for the former.

Screw those guys. I hope they never stop.

 

You can find The Andy Anderson EP on the Churlington Bandcamp. Their song I do not travel with Bananas, Sir! from their album Act Scared, Get Behind Him, Keep Him Busy, Screw You Bozo features on the $lave Collective 2017 Compilation, While the Swamp Rocks.

 

 

 

About Churlington

We are Churlington.

https://horsepants.bandcamp.com/


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Churlington

Releases

Untitled
Year: 2018
Type: EP
The Andy Anderson EP
Year: 2017
Type: EP
Churlington Suck Live
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Ray Brower
Year: 2016
Type: EP

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