We, fortunate enough to have dropped an unsuspecting needle upon the untouched, gasoline-blue vinyl of High Arctic’s third official full length release, RAUD, are immediately faced with a challenge framed as an anti-tonal question: “What the Hell is this?”
While I have listened to this record on repeat for well over a week now, I am happy to report that I have no clue; RAUD is a gloriously inconsistent affair. RAUD continues to elude me, offering a welcomed antithesis to our comparatively homogenous musical climate.
Sometimes Black Sabbath, sometimes Butthole Surfers, RAUD, defies approximation in terms of both theme and chronographic gravity. Some of High Arctic’s songs are content to put their catchy riffs to rest after a mere two minutes, while others are insatiable, driving their captive, fret board fingers on, and on, and on for eternity and then some. And still, we never tire: monotony becomes infinite, for a while.
Composed by three of Victoria’s most reliable musical minds, it should come as no surprise that Raud is, in its most basic rendering, an exercise in tone. As evidenced by the album’s centerpiece, “She Sings Songs”, Raud at once celebrates the frail beginnings of song while heralding the fully-gestated arrival of the forceful, though incoherent arrival of her progeny. Our collective mind is set at ease, even as we gasp.
Gasp for what? I guess it doesn’t matter: “Where does it go? Nobody knows…”, a constant refrain to High Arctic’s inauspicious fury, dictates the parameters of our revelry. This album, while brilliant, seems to shrug off intellectual discourse in favour of a good party, and since the sun seems more and more reluctant to disappear into the ocean these days, perhaps this is its most fitting habitat. Listen to this album, and turn it up loud.
Listen to Raud here.
Words by Nick Lyons