- Tackle completed Benzedrine in Seymour, a town in Victoria, north of Melbourne, with shopfronts that look like something out of Wake In Fright. It's also the second town listed in the Australian version of "I've Been Everywhere," which might seem like a strangely buoyant reference given Tackle's junkyard-plundering aesthetic. Thing is, out in the backcountry, the line between larrikin mateship and suicidal tendencies is a thin one. Benzedrine conjures up the manic tension of a binge-drinker locked in a god-forsaken two-up match, but what's most apparent is its sophisticated control of ambience, focused sample selection and laborious drum programming. This clearly isn't the work of somebody beholden to dance music rhetoric, but these three tracks inadvertently shame many producers in the 4/4 game.
The sound design across the whole set is striking. The sense of space is so vivid you can almost smell it, and though it seems like it was tracked in a garden shed and re-amped through a blown-speaker, it's the opposite of lo-fi. The A-side title track sounds like Metalheadz playing a barn dance, with the glinting sound of metal on metal, pulses of deep bass and cutting snare tattoos. There's a strong sense of authority and domination here, but "Benzedrine" hits more like the fabled "touch of death" than a blow from a blunt object.
The two tracks on the flip are slower and denser. There's some funk buried deep in the dusty clutter, but the forward momentum is hard won and weighs on the mind like a hangover. Although both label and artist are courting this down-and-out imagery, Benzedrine evokes far more respect than pity. It's an intimidating debut from a promising artist operating on the fringes.
B2 AGR 803