Hi God People is, if you’ll forgive a generalisation, the Australian underground’s answer to Sun City Girls. Like the Girls, they’d fit snugly into the numbingly ubiquitous New Weird America scene if they hadn’ in fact preceded it. Another advantage they share is a prescient awareness of dynamic and mood: Hi God People travel through peripheral genres like Sunburned Hand of the Man buoy upon never-ending kraut jams, and their adeptness at skirting through varieties of subterranean aesthetics ensures their music remains surprising, unsettling and sometimes hilariously weird.
The first two tracks here are live-to-air studio excursions recorded for Melbourne’ 3CR, while the final missive is a live performance at the Palace, recorded in June 2006. Their sound is a leering and murky yet oddly propulsive collage of acoustic improvisation, occasional aborted rock wig outs, and stream of consciousness lyricism that compliments the tumultuous, windswept ambience of the ensemble.
On the flipside, Melbourne’ Zond blows Hi God People’ prevailing reluctance to fall into a groove out of memory quick smart. “Monkey’ is just sub-two minutes but it packs an enormous amount of ferocity – the distortion is positively serrated and the wailing vocals satisfyingly overblown. The band manage to sound devastatingly derailed despite a grippingly locked in and staggering rhythm.
It only takes five minutes for Zond to fall flat on their face exhausted though, with the final 10 minute track “Coffin Run’ descending into a crackly drone that dips and swirls at the pace of your turntable. It feels rather apocalyptic actually: the force they conjure seems impossible to sustain over the course of a side; or maybe the last grooves were damaged in the mayhem. You won’ mind playing it again just to check, because Zond are amazing.