Review Summary: Modern Australian rock. But wait! There's more!
The story of Gyroscope has been a fascinating one to observe. Through radio and magazine support, the band has grown from a high school band putting out cassettes to one of the most important bands in Australian rock music today, opening for huge acts such Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy and selling out shows on their own account across the nation. So after endless touring, endless work and seemingly endless hype, the band return with their third album, Breed Obsession
. The album isn’t so much a step forward as it is a manic stagedive one may see at one of their shows. This is an above-par rock album that isn’t afraid to take risks and break any presumption of being stuck in one genre, as too many of their contemporaries appear to be.
A newfound ambition is present on the record, with the band broadening horizons in a fashion similar to that of the band’s last record, Are You Involved"
. The album features some of their softest and most introspective work- the heart-on-sleeve tribute to coming home, “Australia”, is an example of this. Its raw vastness and heartfelt vocals and lyrics of Perth longing are perfectly arranged and masterfully executed. At opposite ends, one will find Gyroscope’s most intense and dark songs to date, particularly found in the one-two punch of stalker ode “O.K” and the Taking Back Sunday-flavoured mosh starter “Weapon.Enemy.Friend”, showcasing in particular some excellent drumming from sticks man Rob Nassif.
It is in these instances where the band is at their finest, treading ground through unfamiliar territory and reigning victorious at the end of it. Regardless of the type of song attempted, the album shows a keen ear for pop music, especially in the ridiculously catchy hooks that is not unlike fellow Aussie rockers Kisschasy’s Darren Cordeaux. From the solid rock of “These Days” to the Conor Oberst styling of “The River Between”, there are memorable choruses aplenty- even hooks in unexpected places such as the verses or bridges.
Perhaps the highlight of Breed
comes with the popular lead single, “Snakeskin”. The band wastes no time in staking new territory in the song, and marking it with deep contrasts, an intense vocal delivery from Daniel Sanders and a distinctive piano loop that brings cold, vast atmosphere and contrast to the song when used. The most intense part of the song is unforeseen, found not in the chorus but the bridge where Zoran Trivic’s guitar shifts into fuzzed-out drop D, and Sanders provides listeners with his harshest vocals yet. Whilst certainly not a song that is immediately accessible, the song ultimately proves to be the strongest point of the record.
Of course, the band are still suffering from several developmental and transitional problems as a band, especially in their noble attempts of progression and expansion of their sound. Not everything the band attempts works to their favour. Slow-to-moderately paced numbers such as “Polyphons and Multidors” and the swinging “Her Design” are easily skippable- not because the band are incapable of slower songs, but simply because they are boring songs that are badly placed in the tracklisting (another issue with the album) and bring the vibrancy of the record down significantly. Inconsistency, too, is certainly a factor, with many of the album’s highlights shifted towards the first half. Having said that, there is still just enough to keep the listener at least slightly interested in what is going on through the album’s entirety.
On the band’s last two records, 2004’s Sound Shattering Sound
and 2005’s Are You Involved"
, the band confirmed their position as one of Australia’s best rock bands. With Breed Obsession
, it seems the band are no longer content with this alone. Here, they sound as if they want to take over the world with their music. With a batch of tunes like this, who can blame them" More to the point…who can stop them"