OS­CAR DOWL­ING

UNCUT - - New Albums - SHARON O’CON­NELL

Free And Easy SPUNK! 7/10 In­tense de­but from Auckland gui­tarist and gang There’s both a dark irony and sense of grat­i­tude in the ti­tle of Dowl­ing’s de­but, which deals with his own men­tal health and is­sues around mor­tal­ity, while ac­knowl­edg­ing the ther­a­peu­tic power of mu­sic and com­pany. Draw­ing on post-rock, art skronk and the an­guished bal­ladry of Jeff Buck­ley, its chief strength is its un­pre­dictabil­ity. Dowl­ing’s lyrics, though, are re­li­ably raw: “When I choke on my vomit in my sleep and pass away,” he muses ca­su­ally, on “Ease Of My Pass­ing”, while on “Fair Weather Friend’, which sug­gests Thom Yorke fronting The Drones, “This is the end, the time has come” is sim­i­larly un­dra­matic. Ex­is­ten­tial ten­sion, then, but no at­ten­tion­seek­ing.

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