by Thomas Bedward August 30, 2021
In years gone by, The Drones carved up Australia’s art-punk scene with hallucinogenic glee, creating a raw, eclectic, and caustic sound that has endured in cult-classic albums like ‘Gala Mill’ and ‘Feelin Kinda Free’. Following their hiatus in late 2016, frontman Gareth Liddiard and bass guitarist Fiona Kitschin set about creating a whole new project, channelling all their art-punk, noise rock and experimental funk fury into the Tropical Fuck Storm. Fast-forward to the present day, and Tropical Fuck Storm have already established themselves in blistering form, releasing two cataclysmic albums and laying the foundation for a bold, surrealistic legacy.
Keeping the gritty, lo-fi energy flowing, ‘Deep States’ is the band’s third album, and it’s as ragged, mangled, and brilliant as you’d expect, capturing their dishevelled funk-punk style and forcing it into your consciousness with an abundance of tattered swagger. Stitched together from a rolling mess of vintage electronics, explosive guitar effects, and surreal, sarcastic lyrics the burn right through you, ‘Deep States’ is arguably their finest and most devastating works to date.
Opening with ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’, Tropical Fuck Storm’s third offering is fuelled by a wave of wayward guitar brilliance, throwing a backwards glance to the band’s early releases while also perfectly setting the scene for what’s to come. Liddiard and Kitschin holler and shake in each chorus, and the whole song erupts with dark, hallucinogenic sounds. Elsewhere in the album, ‘G.A.F.F’ offers some heavy punk-funk vibes, becoming one of the album’s many highlights, while ‘New Romeo Agent’ gets as close to drawn-out, experimental pop as the band have ever ventured. Tracks like ‘Bumma Sanger’ break with newfound minimalism, while ‘Legal Ghost’ is set adrift in sprawling balladry, defying all expectations and completing the band’s trippy journey through modern music.
Lyrically, the band are in fine form, delivering scathing, idiosyncratic lines about suicide cults, QAnon, Noah’s Ark and, on ‘Reporting Of A Failed Campaign’, a decades-spanning tale of international corruption. It’s a lot to take in, but it’s damn impossible to deny.
Even after repeat listens, ‘Deep States’ will remain a blurry, confusing mess, and even if you can escape the lingering tensions and stark, kaleidoscopic, the end result is an intoxicating, brazen sound that will drag you back time and time again.
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