MUSIC REVIEW | Regurgitator – …art (1999)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Combines the experimentation and genre bending of their debut, with the more seasoned expertise and confidence of its follow up.”

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Tu-Plang was the brash debut.  Two disparate creative voices, smashing their styles and idiosyncrasies into each other head first, creating a beautiful monster of punk, pop, rock, hip hop and glorious noise that perfectly fit the mould of Aussie alternative rock at the time, while sounding like nothing else out there.  Unit was a perfectly crafted and intricately executed concept, as 80s pop was taken beyond pastiche for a true post modern refresh that was faithful to the old, while creating something totally new.  After such a jarringly different, yet equally effective opening pair, where did Regurgitator go with record number three, …art?

The perfect ear for melody of Quan Yeomans is evident straight away on Happiness.  Displaying his knack for using organic instruments like guitars, sampled and looped in ways that suggest a more modern, computer driven structure, it’s a great example of this band at this time.  Ben Ely then gets gentle and dreamy on Ghost, using a similar combination of organic heart, surrounded by a more modern, electronic skin.

With its bouncing synthesiser and robotically effected vocals, Freshmint! almost sounds like a leftover from the Unit sessions. But there’s also a slight darkness to it that is evident throughout a lot of …art that separates it enough from its predecessor to make sure it never sounds like a blatant re-tread of former ground.

With his nasal growl imitating the guitar churn that drives Strange Human Being, Yeomans creates a song that is both air tight, and gloriously messy all at once.  Seemingly overly obvious and simplistic lyrics, atop three chords of overtly obvious and simplistic punk rock progressions, I Wanna Be a Nudist is pure Ben Ely song writing and execution at it absolute best.  An approach used to just as much effect later on Obtusian.

One guitar loop presented over and over and over, I Like Repetitive Music is two minutes and 40 seconds Yeomans letting us know that yes, he does indeed like repetitive music.  But when its wall to wall brilliant wordplay, rhyme structure and lyrical payoffs like only Yeomans can deliver, it could have been three times as long and never felt too repetitive.

Offering a space alien, wahed out bass and general disco funk, Feels Alright could be a 70s prequel to Unit’s enduring radio staple, ! (Song Formerly Known As).  It also sounds like its sung by Princess Leia while wearing that helmet that changes her voice as she rescues Han Solo in Return of the Jedi.

On an album that has stayed on semi regular rotation in my life since its release in 1999, I Love Tommy Mottola might be the song most listened to in that time.  It’s a rare example of Yeomans showing off his noodling guitar chops, while the overly busy work of Spiderbait’s Kram filling in on the drum stool is the perfect match for the song’s relentlessly upbeat energy.

Are U Being Served…  What more can be said about five minute dance track sampling the opening credits from 70s British sitcom Are You Being Served?, other than it’s just as gimmicky as that description sounds, but waaaay better than that descriptions sounds.
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So, where did Regurgitator go with record number three, …art?  They were no longer finding their feet like the young dudes who made Tu-Plang.  And they obviously had no interest in the narrow boundaries of making something as tightly structured and thematic as Unit.  Instead, …art is a band that combines the experimentation and genre bending of their debut, with the more seasoned expertise and confidence of its follow up.  …art is sprawling and wide ranging, bordering on unfocused.  But there’s something about the clashing of Quan Yeomans and Ben Ely sounds that means that even at its messiest, …art is undeniably Regurgitator.


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