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(Tri An­gle/Se­cretly Cana­dian)

Amer­i­can cul­ture has long seen two no­tional op­po­sites in­ti­mately en­twined – the sa­cred and the pro­fane. The lat­est chap­ter in a story that runs through so much US mu­sic is the de­but al­bum by Josiah “ser­pen­twith­feet” Wise, an artist who fuses avant garde R&B with the de­vo­tional beauty of gospel, skirt­ing easy clas­si­fi­ca­tion. Soil is a beau­ti­ful, shape-shift­ing de­but made by a for­mer choir­boy who, tan­gen­tially, iden­ti­fies as a pa­gan.

It is, at its heart, an al­bum about love: the in­ti­macy of it, the rap­ture of it, the loss of it. Its forth­com­ing track Cheru­bim riffs hard on the quasi-re­li­gious po­ten­tial of ho­mo­erotic ado­ra­tion. Wise’s ec­static voice ranges from falsetto flut­ter to proclam­a­tory thrum on songs like In­voice – a grandiose, dra­matic com­po­si­tion. Equal parts thrilling and wist­fully melan­cholic, Mel­bourne five-piece Rolling Black­outs Coastal Fever are that rare beast: a band ca­pa­ble of breath­ing ex­cite­ment back into a too of­ten unin­spir­ing in­die scene. While the in­di­vid­ual elements of their sound - the melodic nous of their com­pa­tri­ots the Go-Betweens, the dy­namism of the Strokes, the jan­gle of 1980s-vin­tage Fly­ing Nun – are noth­ing new, it’s been a long time since they have been whipped up into such a fresh-sound­ing con­fec­tion.

Their full-length de­but, Hope Downs, is re­leased this week and rep­re­sents a huge leap for­ward from last year’s al­ready im­pres­sive French Press EP. Gui­tar lines from their three singer-song­writ­ers, Tom Russo, Joe White and Fran Keaney, in­ter­weave

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