Eddy Current Suppression Ring - "Anxiety" (Rush to Relax)
Four Australian guys meet at their factory job, and decide to form a band. Favoring a more straight-ahead sound that looks back at mid-to-late ‘70s proto- and punk proper with hardly a sideways glance, they release a few singles, a couple of great albums, and even manage tour the States a couple of times, all to the acclaim of the punk/garage cognoscenti. A Pulitzer-worthy story this is most decidedly not, as the only thing more remarkable about Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s bare bones tracks is the absolutely unremarkable nature of the four gents who craft them. Not that that’s a problem, mind you — one suspects that a significant part of the band’s appeal and relative success (especially in their home country) is due to the fact that they’ve always written songs that mirror their own disposition as run-of-the-mill dudes.
Basic, unassuming, and calling to mind a grip of classic material without going to great lengths to mimic it, Rush to Relax, the band’s third LP, adds almost nothing new to Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s repertoire. There’s the band-cited Pagans and Troggs similarities, but also bits of the Fall’s slang rants and Wire’s early, deceptively simple primitivism. That’s largely a good thing, though — recorded in a day and often showing it, this album is loose and limber, sacrificing pinpoint precision for an unkempt energy few can match.
Launching headlong into “Anxiety,” ECSR often display a more manic energy this time out, and bound quickly through the equally sharp “I Got a Feeling.” The few surprises here tend to come during the album’s longer songs. “Tuning Out” and its ode to ennui all but run a groove into the ground before turning into an unexpected showcase for some slashing guitar work. Similarly, “Second Guessing” works its way into slightly more benign Mark E. Smith territory, relying on a spooky keyboard to create the band’s usual tension without release.
Adding in a couple one-minute stompers to balance out the group’s more stretched out moments, there’s hardly any fluff to be found on Rush to Relax (save for the solid 18 or so minutes of ocean sounds that close out the CD version of the record, at least), representing a certain efficiency and economy that, while not always great for copy, is excellent from a listener’s perspective. Quietly-laced and hardly lo-fi when quite a few of their contemporaries are anything but, Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s Rush to Relax is that rare record, asking nothing up front, but yielding more and more rewards with each passing listen.