Record is the second album from Melbourne piano duo Footy, Paddy Gordon and Lewis Mulvey. Informed by 19th and 20th century art music by everyone from Debussy to Brian Eno and John Cage, Footy combine their musical education with their Australian upbringing to create a unique and quietly angry sound that exists between punk, art and improvisation.
Footy delight in changing genres and moods suddenly. You might get a minute reminiscent of Erik Satie’s more experimental work that suddenly turns into an echo of yacht rock. Chord progressions that imitate 70s singer songwriters will give way to passages that could have been written by Terry Riley or Morton Feldman. Much like 2013’s Mobile Cemetery, the astonishingly dry and unedited production creates a claustrophobia giving the musicians and the audience nowhere to hide. The aesthetic owes more to downtown New York classical recordings than anything in rock or pop, even with the chirping of birds in a suburban backyard in the background.
Footy’s meandering but never uncontrolled works are like a Howard Arkley painting of a double fronted brick veneer; familiar to anyone who grew up in the suburbs, but identifiable for anyone in the know as viciously angry and satirical. The tension in Footy’s music is cultural. It captures the anger and disappointment of growing up in an isolated but bucolic world of lawnmowers and cricket, out of reach of the music and art happening beyond its borders. From the duo’s name to choice of album title, contempt for mainstream Australian culture is never far from the surface.
While mostly instrumental, Footy occasionally break in with laconic vocals, either talking over each other in philosophical riddles in the opener ‘Consciousness’, or drawling chillingly about losing on ‘The Price Is Right’ in 1992. It’s this track, with its mournful absurdity over a hopelessly dramatic chord progression, that more than any other lays bare the bubbling anger under the polished surface of Footy’s exquisitely economical compositions.
– Jason Allen