Review Summary: Four girls, one guy, with a violin and sax thrown in just for kicks. The Result? A beautiful sprawling mix of great alternative rock that drips with potential.
Bridezilla are a young band. Like, really young. I mean dammit, the bands name is Bridezilla. Bridezilla
. Sure, it’s probably something to do with there being four girls in the band, but still… with two members just out of high school and two more still behind the study desks, it’d be easy to dismiss the band as another label pressed gimmick, a la this years oh-so-popular Australian indie hipsters, Operator Please
. Female fronted? Check. Violin? Check. Saxophone? Uhh… Far from the jump and shout sounds of most of Down Under’s alternative music scene, Bridezilla’s recently released EP is a mature, smooth flowing work of ethereal, earthy tunes, drawing on folky, grunge influences and carried though by Holiday Carmen-Spark’s beautifuly soothing vocals over a tightly wound band who know damn well how to make simple music sound good without any hints of pretentious wankery.
While Bridezilla come off as blasphemous outsiders in a scene where the modern dance-pop revival is well and truly stretching its legs, there’s nothing of the sort here, with the band going for a sound stripped down to earth, devoid of synths and electronics and instead opting to go with an unconventional paring of a violin and saxophone to give voice to their impressive debut. And though it's oh so easy nowadays to lose focus when playing with unconventional instruments, coming off as either theatrically bombastic or just somewhat contrived (see: Neon Bible, The Flying Club Cup), the Zillas don't just use their 'other' instruments here to merely complement the music, rather, both the brass and strings here are very much part of the heart and soul of the record's sound, weaving their soaring melodies in, out, through and behind the rest of the band. The brooding and moody Chainwork for example, just wouldn’t sound the same without Milly and Daisy going psyco-crazy behind their respective instruments by the end of it. And the best thing? It sounds perfectly natural.
Don't be fooled though, cause while everything works,
it doesn't mean everything is perfect
. I mean, hell, my decade year old Nissan works just fine, but it dosn't stop me from calling it a s'hitbox. Songs like Mr. Young and Brown Paper Bag have a tendency to be only as memorable as their respective song lengths, and one can't help but feel that the songwriting could be a little tighter round the edges. It'd be nice to see the band delve deeper into the darker elements set up throughout the music and explore even further down the paths already opened by their unique sound. Thankfully though, it's a hitch that (hopefully) owes itself more a band still growing to grasp their roots than anything wrong with the music at its core.
This and cool sounding instruments aside, the Zilla’s not-so-secret weapon is far more obvious: Vocalist Holiday Carmen Spark (or Holiday Sidewinder, if you’d prefer to go by linear notes). While her voice neither strides though octaves nor quips and shrieks like the best of them, when you got a voice that’s smoother than silk and more soothing than honey, who gives a damn? Pair that with the darkly tinged, almost haunting but soulful music that’s found on Bridezilla’s debut EP, and you’ve got a match made in heaven. From her shadowy, rough edged crooning on St. Francine to her beautiful, reverb drenched singing on Forbidden Holiday, it’s a hell of a musical ride.
Hopefully though, it’s a ride that keeps getting better. While the Zillas have been certainly making the rounds – playing at this year’s Homebake festival and upcoming Big Day Out 2008, as well as having opened for acts like The Roots, the Magic Numbers and fellow Aussies Wolfmother and the Mercy Arms, more time refining and exploring their own music in the studio would do no harm. Bridezilla certainly knows how to make a damn good sound – Forbidden Holiday and St. Francine are more than testament to this and for what it is (and it what is a still young, 5 song EP), Bridezilla – once I get over the name – are a band whose first full length will be well worth keeping an eye out for.