Rock

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - An­drew McMillen John McBeath

Post Pop De­pres­sion Iggy Pop Caro­line Aus­tralia

By join­ing forces with one of mod­ern rock mu­sic’s great­est song­writ­ing tal­ents, Iggy Pop has pro­duced an al­bum that will in­tro­duce his un­mis­tak­able voice and sass to a new gen­er­a­tion. From the clever ti­tle through to the small­est flour­ishes of th­ese nine tracks, Post Pop De­pres­sion is an im­pres­sively pol­ished and ex­cit­ing col­lec­tion that rates among his strong­est work.

For his 17th stu­dio al­bum, Pop has hooked up with Josh Homme, front­man of Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vul­tures. The lat­ter trio was com­pleted by John Paul Jones (Led Zep­pelin) and Dave Grohl (Foo Fight­ers), so Homme is no stranger to the du­bi­ous “su­per­group” tag.

His unique mu­si­cal fin­ger­prints are all over this record, and the two play­ers he tapped to join them in the stu­dio — Arc­tic Mon­keys drum­mer Matt Helders, and QOTSA multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist Dean Fer­tita — are per­fectly suited to Pop’s al­ter­nately de­tached and im­pas­sioned bari­tone.

An ar­ray of moods and styles en­sure that en­ergy lev­els re­main high through­out, but two songs in par­tic­u­lar stand out. Gar­de­nia is built on shim­mer­ing chords and an ir­re­sistible bass groove, with sparse verses that al­low Pop’s yearn­ing voice to shine as he searches for the tit­u­lar char­ac­ter.

Sun­day piv­ots on a busy rhythm sec­tion, while Homme’s jagged gui­tar phrases are heard in the right chan­nel only; later, the six-minute track is haunted by a vo­cal melody (“Al­ways ready / Al­ways steady”) that’s topped off by an or­ches­tral coda.

It’s a truly in­spired com­po­si­tion, and any­one who has ever en­joyed Pop’s pop pres­ence — from fronting punk rock pro­gen­i­tors the Stooges through to his later solo al­bums — should check it out to see how the 68-year-old has rein­vented him­self yet again. works through an up­tempo post-bop piece with big lus­cious chords and a quick melodic line, while Re­mo­lacha (Span­ish for sugar beet) em­ploys a Latino rhythm, with suit­ably dis­cur­sive pi­ano tre­ble, and al­lows wide scope for Sam An­ning’s bass con­tri­bu­tions, as well as for Eric Doob’s in­ven­tive per­cus­sion.

The ti­tle track uses brief semi-clas­si­cal ex­cur­sions in a com­po­si­tion that also in­cludes a bluesy un­der­cur­rent and fast Art Ta­tum-like runs. The long­est track, The Schlep, at more than seven min­utes, fea­tures clever rhyth­mic hes­i­ta­tions, giv­ing the bass an op­por­tu­nity to weave through an em­pha­sised solo, and Doob of­fers a punc­tu­ated pas­sage be­tween Winkel­man’s chords.

While I Sleep suc­cess­fully paints a dark sce­nario with dreamy pas­sages, yet swings in a strong way, abet­ted by An­ning’s solidly sta­ble bass line per­fectly in­te­grated with the pi­ano.

This is an al­bum of great va­ri­ety, show­ing that much can be achieved by a pi­ano trio with imag­i­na­tive com­po­si­tions and skilled, uni­fied play­ers.

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