Art vs Science: Off The Edge of The Earth and Into Forever, Forever
The new Art vs Science album is, for lack of a better word, sexy. Off The Edge of The Earth and Into Forever, Forever is perhaps aptly named; this highly-anticipated sophomore album is a mature departure from their self-titled EP (2009) and debut studio album The Experiment (2011) that have grounded them firmly in the music industry. Known for their electronic dance-punk vibes and voltaic vocals (and by that I mean both their raw energy and the use of vocoders), now they have dared themselves to add in some sweetness.
Art vs Science exploded into the Sydney music scene in the late 2000s at a pivotal point in my life. Not only did they have a band name that summed up my inner conflict as I was deciding which course to do at university, they had the sound that inspired my friends to buy me a strobe light for the garage so we could hold our own kid-friendly raves and dance to ‘Parlez-Vous Francais?’ Naturally, I was both eager and nervous to hear what had come of my childhood heroes.
The album opens with the hyper-aggressive, squelchy bass line that is definitive of the Art vs Science sound in ‘In This Together’. For fans, it is indeed just a stone’s throw away from well-known 2010 track ‘Magic Fountain’. But the boys don’t play it safe by sticking to what worked last time; they sneak in a catchy chorus sung in melodious falsetto with an ounce of unadulterated beauty. However, this only serves as a bridge to their second track, ‘Chosen One’, which is the quintessential pop song atypically built upon a vocoded riff. It is rather pretty.
On the other end of the spectrum, ‘Tired of Pretending’ is sexy monotony. It has gyrating bass and aggressive deadpan vocals that eventually explode into wailing guitar solos and spaceship synthesizers. But for me, ‘Diana’ takes the cake. It sounds like the Broadway love-song, with a nostalgic mention of young love in 1984 delivered in a beautiful falsetto so reminiscent of Frankie Valli.
Now I never thought I’d use the combination ‘sleazy funkiness’ to describe songs, but ‘Stars Pt. I’ and ‘Stars Pt. II’ call for that. Pt. I starts off with a ridiculous X-files-theme sounding melody, then Pt. II transports you back to the 70’s with a Bee-Gees sounding bridge. And as if I wasn’t pleasantly surprised enough by this album, Art vs Science threw in a song that captures perfectly the spirit of their old works – ‘Bongo Man’. It is fun. Weird. It is like something out of The Mighty Boosh. But most of all, it is exactly like something Art vs Science circa 2010, from the crazy keyboard glissandos to the funny lyrics: “Everybody needs a plan /They need a disco plan / Bounce to the boogie / Of the disco disco man!”
All in all, Off The Edge of The Earth and Into Forever, Forever is a great album in its own right, but it is also a great gift from the band to their fans. I loved the obvious throwbacks to their old vibes but also the way they exercised their prerogative to pioneer expeditions into new sounds. They have really taken control of their art and made something for themselves and something for the fans. With this album, Art vs Science are still the indie superheroes of Australian pop music.
You can catch Art vs Science live here:
Sat 24th Oct Valley Fiesta Bris Qld
Mon 28th Dec Falls Festival Lorne VIC
Tues 29th Dec Falls Festival Marion Bay TAS
Thu 31st Dec Falls Festival Byron Bay NSW
Friday 8th January Southbound WA
Review by Chloe Keung.