Spawned in Sydney’s inner-west in 2006, The Laurels have until now been without a release to their name. With debut EP, Mesozoic, the Sydney staples have delivered an assured sign of a band on the rise.
After four years without a release, The Laurels have ceased to be a pain in the arse. A lack of funds has seen them go without something to sell since 2006, instead forging a four year reputation of ear-splitting psychedelia on Sydney’s underground. It’s been these live credentials which have built all the anticipation leading into the long awaited hand over of recorded sound – and with Mesozoic, they’ve found themselves a winner.
From the two-guitar fade-in of Black Cathedral to the howling minute of reverb that closes out Until the End, The Laurels stamp their authority as members of shoe-gazing resurgence. Each track is soaked in fuzz; echoed vocals floating behind an acid-trip wall of sound that’s underlined by rhythmic ebbs and flows. The entire mix is alive and breathing; the run of notes hiding underneath Turn On Your Mind’s fuzz-fuckery sounds like a guitar on one listen, a voice the next. Merry Go Round is such a cacophonic scorcher that it’s a struggle just to pick out the number of guitars in the mix, let alone what the fuck is being said…so you turn it up and intensify the pull of the strain you’re trying to avoid, and you’re rewarded in turn.
The Laurels don’t owe you anything for their recording silence – they’ve delivered – but they do owe a hell of a lot of people for their sound. Their press release begins with comparisons to My Bloody Valentine, Spaceman 3, Sonic Youth and The Scientists, and as you listen to Mesozoic, you wonder why they stopped there. Brian Jonestown and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are aural doppelgangers, sparser moments like the opening to Run For Cover evokes The Church or Mazzy Star, and weirdly, there’s even some Strays-era Janes Addiction occasionally lurking in Piers Cornelius’ vocal. Mesozoic is a pastiche of sounds you’ve heard before, and much like Tame Impala, they make no secret as to its source. You can file this unquestionably under psychedelia, and while it wouldn’t be ridiculous for you to want something that’s less of a tip of the hat, there’s too much promise here to let it slide.
Mesozoic is a credit to The Laurels; a near-perfect translation of the energy they bring to the stage and a qualified response to the hype that has followed them since their inception. While there’s a lot in their sound that’s already implanted in that mesh of sounds you’ve stored in your memory banks, it’s done too well to let that stop you. Put this on and send a fuck you to your otolaryngologist; Mesozoic is a trip worth taking loud.
Mesozoic is out now on Other Tongues.