This is something that you don’t often get to come across, something that successfully straddles the divide between accessible and truly strange without sounding contrived in either regard. Sky Needle is essentially something of a junk orchestra made up of Brisbane underground art scene stalwarts Joel Stern, Alex Cuffe, Sarah Byrne and Ross Manning, banging away on a collection of homemade, non and primitive-instruments. The B-side, from which comes the single’s title, is the one that leans most towards the strange, a pleasantly cacophonous mix of lo-fi bass scratch, one-note riffs on indeterminate wind instruments, and clanging rhythm provided by the banging of assorted non-musical objects. The A-side, ‘Howlway’, is the ‘pop’ song, in this context, a similarly single-minded, one note buzz with jagged sax improvisation and, most significantly, Byrne’s banshee wails.
I am a sucker for artwork as well and I have to confess to being sold on this one before I’d even heard a note. Housed in a wonderfully hand silk-screened A3 page folded up around the 7″ vinyl, the package is every bit as good as the music. Not so much an added bonus as a reminder that art really is important to music.