Metro Theatre Review
by Steve Anderson
iOTA is a bit of a revelation in this biz. Original yet familiar. Out there yet melodic. Surely a formula for success. I’ve always wondered, along with a lot of others why he hasn’t taken that next big step into bona fide rock god-dom. But then again there’s nothing hipper in rock than a cult following.
Backed by solid bass and drums, the boys tunes mix eclectic anti-pop with the heart of big 70’s rock threatening to burst through the twisted melodies. Acoustic driven and clean, the quietest of quiet spaces, dank melody opening up into muted rhythms, voice and guitar filling it, before breaking out into punching straight bluesy heavy rock. Way cool man.
THE WHITLAMS open with three tracks from the new album Torch the Moon. The wonderfully named Bourbon Tabernacle Strings (if these ears ain’t deceiving) providing backing strings. ‘Cries Too Hard’ is warm as toast lilting pop, harmonies to the fore, pushing a full warm sound. The single ‘Fall for You’ and ‘I Will Not Go Quietly’ given extra percussive punch.
It’s largely business as usual for The Whitlams, most of the tunes based around Tim Freedman’s piano and vocal melody. However a few of the newer tracks sees Mr Freedman relaxing at the wheel becoming just another member, the band rocking out, even throwing up the occasional guitar solo.
There are no flat spots. ‘Blow Up the Pokies’ rises and falls, minimalist then full and majestic. Their breakout track ‘No Aphrodisiac’ is melancholy sweetness at its best, the band driving it to a raucously explosive end. ‘Thank you’ a self-effacing good time sing along.
I can see Tim Freedman in 20 years time still packing them in. The Whitlams have got a timeless quality about them. ‘Best Work’ and ‘Kate Kelly’ from the latest, old fave ‘Louis Burdett’, and the rest played and received with the same enthusiasm witnessed at the packed Metro tonight.
Twisting my own arm to pick a standout from a set that is never short of superb moments I go for the ballad ‘Make the World Safe’. Simple beats, bright piano, the dulcet vocal melody carrying it to a cosy and fulfilling end.
The Whitlams are simply one of the best bands this country will ever produce.