Sydney band Making return with their highly anticipated full-length debut Highlife. After a few years of crushing heads with their unrelenting live show, hints of the album surfaced occasionally but unforeseen label issues inevitably delayed the release. Enter Trait Records who, fortunately for everyone, picked up the album and quickly made plans for its release.
As frustrating as this situation may have been for the band, the delay and difficulties experienced makes the album’s eventual release all the more sweet.
After their assured self-titled debut EP, the subsequent singles, ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Stay Still’ hinted at a more melodic direction, so it’s somewhat surprising that Highlife is a decidedly darker beast. That’s not to say there aren’t lighter moments (and I use the term loosely), title track ‘Highlife’s’ glistening guitar melodies pierce through the low end fuzz, whilst second track ‘Amazon’ moves with a head-nod swagger before kicking into an all-out roller reminiscent of ‘Leyendecker’ by Battles.
But darkness eats at the edges of Highlife, ultimately winning the battle. From the explosive tribal throb of ‘Come to Me’, which at its most climactic rivals the ferocity of affiliates Tanned Christ (whose line-up includes two-thirds of Making); to the crunching discord of opener ‘Zs’ (possibly a reference to the NYC band of the same name, as they certainly share said band’s fondness for complex rhythms, sonic exploration and a healthy dose of the aforementioned discord).
Another comparison I find myself coming back to is with another NYC band, the criminally underrated Extra Life (coincidentally led by former Zs member Charlie Looker). This likeness is most noticeable in the jarring rhythms and crushing, metallic bass of ‘Dream Job’, or in the closing crescendo of ‘Pascal’, which recalls the similarly epic, final moments of Extra Life’s quintessential track ‘I Don’t See it That Way’.
Totaling just 6 tracks, Highlife is a taut, concise effort without a single ounce of fat to shed. The band’s evolution both live and on record is something to behold and the technical accomplishment of the album is testament to this.
Without a doubt this is one of the album highlights of 2015, from one of Sydney’s finest bands.