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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews



At a time when almost every JJJ guitar band is giving themselves mad kudos for fiddling around with drum machines and padding out their songs with synth loops, it's funny and quite fitting that Ghoul, one of Sydney's more respected electronic-vs-rock hybrids, has started mirroring their drift toward that midzone between guitars and laptops. But unlike their trad-rock counterparts, Ghoul's blurring of that acoustic/electronic line is less gimmicky and pandering to the mogan and instead makes a strong argument for Ghoul as a quintessential 'studio' band c. 2k11 — too good at singing and songwriting to stay hunched over their laptops, but (judging from their long-dead blog) just as happy to spend days arduously perfecting a drum loop.

Dunks is their second mini-LP in three years and opens with untreated vocals, acoustic guitar stabs and a drumkit. Whether played live or sampled, the sound of acoustic instruments sit at the core of most tracks here, before multiple layers of textured production are added to emphasise the lurching, hypnotic quality of their tunes. It's actually the lead single and most overtly electronic song, 3 Mark, that is the weakest in the context of the record. It's a solid entry into their catalogue, but it sounds like the product of completely different recording session and anchors Dunks as a whole to 2010 — thanks mostly to it's mild dubstep-infused production. At the other end of the spectrum is Dreambeat, a song that manages more swag than anything they've yet released thanks to a strutting beat and Ivan Vizintin's vampish vocal turn before descending into haze.

This is a lateral step away from the modest, jazz-lite experimental(ish) debut mini-LP that was 2008's Mouthful Of Gold and, although lacking the jaw-dropping uniqueness, Dunks features Ivan's vocals more cleverly infused with the compositions — rather than simply sitting atop as the clear focus. Dunks also puts a stronger emphasis on the group's live element, sounding like the work of a band whose confidence as producers is now matched by their confidence as a band. They're all the better for it, and hopefully the soon-to-be released debut regular-sized-album will see them swinging their dicks with even more bravado again.

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