Release Date: Jan 25, 2011
Record label: Temporary Residence
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Post-Rock, Experimental Rock
Review Summary: Another minimal masterpiece from My Disco.My Disco are a truly unique punk band. The key to their sound in recent years has been a heavy debt to minimalism. On their most recent record 'Little Joy' they sound continues to progress. They band seems to have followed another Australia based group Liars in creating highly textural yet accessible post-punk.
Easy, varied, multifaceted: These are three terms that, perhaps to the band's pride, could never be applied to Australian trio My Disco's third album, Little Joy. It's maddeningly minimal at times, with certain songs acting as the musical equivalent of semantic satiation, the mental phenomenon in which you repeat a word so many times that it completely loses its meaning and ends up sounding like clusters of weird, random noise. However, in their pursuit of shaving off unnecessary fluff and flair (and in many cases, instantly memorable riffs), My Disco have managed to piece together a compelling post-punk album that traverses a long, coherent arc.
At first listen, one might understandably classify Australia's My Disco as a post-punk band. Never mind that the first track off their first stateside release (third overall) is titled "Closer", and disregard the fact that they've recorded with Steve Albini, or that the group named itself after a Big Black song. The guitar and drums in "Closer" are aggressive and rhythmically focused, recalling the usual cast of post-punk characters: Wire, Gang of Four, the Fall.
For their third album, Little Joy, Australian post-punk minimalists My Disco decided it was time to make a change. Like their second album, Paradise, they recorded the album with engineer extraordinaire Steve Albini, but when it came time to finish production on the album they made the surprising choice to work with Silverchair and the Presets producer Scott Horscroft. Surprisingly, the record retains the band’s minimal style, with Horscroft allowing Albini’s raw recording style to shine through, showcasing the dark and biting sound the band has cultivated over the years.
You know, the whole time I was sitting through this record, I thought, “They’d be a lot better with Steve Albini at the boards.” After all, they’re named after a Big Black song. Then I found out their previous album, Paradise, was, in fact, produced by Albini—and now, for some reason, they’ve decided to go with Silverchair’s producer. Well, then.
Call it post-punk, I guess if you don’t have anywhere else to put it, but if you really want to get to the core of what Little Joy is you would be better off looking at Oneida rather than The Killers. There is a heavy Krautrock /post-rock vibe going on with Little Joy, which works for, and against, this album it at times. Little Joy is an interesting album, in that it is completely fine with repetition and constancy; more so than it is with actual experimentation and deviation.
My Disco has always been concerned with an almost militant approach to repetition and, unsurprisingly, expansive discipline is the axis on which the group’s third full-length, Little Joy, spins. Since the release of the band’s 2006 debut LP Cancer (mapping out member Liam Andrews’ stint with Hodgkin lymphoma), the trio from Melbourne, Australia has challenged listeners to look past the direct immediacy of a single note played again and again, and conversely to its continuity. As with My Disco’s previous albums, Little Joy retains a certain sternness held at its core by Liam’s steadfast approach to both voice and bass.