Last year’s single ‘Hollywood’ was a revelation from relatively unknown Canberra 4-piece Cracked Actor. The single is an exercise in razor sharp song writing, combining catchy melodies, impressive musicianship, and an irresistible energy that leaves you hungry for more. The song also showcased the magnetic vocals of Sebastian Field, whose striking falsetto lies at the heart of the song.
‘Hollywood’ was rounded out with the impressive B-side ‘Impossible Astronaut’ (sadly missing from the LP) and remixes by Sophie Hutchings and Aussie ex-pat Inch Time, which as a package left high expectations for the forthcoming album.
Iconoclast, the full length follow up certainly delivers on the promise of the aforementioned single, expanding on the elements which made the single work so well, whilst also revealing a number of other sides to the band.
The ambient soundscapes of album opener ‘Pause In Everything’ suggests a band who aren’t afraid to experiment, and on closer listen similar soundscapes can be heard as subtle background textures across many of the album’s tracks providing an interesting, albeit less obvious ingredient in the band’s sound.
‘Funerals’ finds the band in full rock mode, slightly reminiscent of Radiohead in their more upbeat moments. The mood quickly shifts with ‘MYV/Light Year’ exploring similarly ambient territory to the opening track before dissolving into the moody and subdued ‘Blue’. The introduction to ‘Blue’ exposes the vulnerability of Field’s vocal with his motoric vibrato adding a rhythmic element to the otherwise stark opening passage.
‘Lemon On Your Lover’ makes a second appearance after being released as a single in late 2013, and like ‘Hollywood’ is another example of Cracked Actor’s ability to write exciting and intelligent pop songs that you can’t help but be swept up in.
Iconoclast is an impressive and confident effort from a talented group of musicians. At its core it contains a smart pop sensibility with the right amount of experimental flair and musical chops to rise above the music as disposable product mentality so apparent in the current climate.