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Louder, tighter and garage to the core, White Lodge present their best work to date on their debut record

Too often conflated with psychedelic rock, 60s garage traces a long and convoluted lineage. While there is a definite interspersion and even symbiosis between the two genres, the primitive lo-fi aesthetic of garage has often served as a sharp counterpoint to the lofty euphoria of psychedelia. When an acid-dazed John Lennon was envisioning Tomorrow Never Knows, The Sonics were cutting gritty repurposed rockers like Have Love, Will Travel. Where 70s rock monoliths egotistically jammed into oblivion, The Stooges kept it fast, loud and to the point.

white lodge

Bundling up barrage of scrappy influences and antique tendencies, the debut album from White Lodge is a cannonball of fuzz-ripped garage goodness.

Conceptually uniform visions of psych rock may intermittently emerge within popular music, but mongrel breeds of garage have always persisted; often reabsorbing the elements of punk, rock and indie genres which they inspire. Pushed forward by Californian acts like The Growlers, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall and Fidlar‘s latest incarnation, garage punk continues to bastardise and reimagine the genre’s muddled heritage into twisted pop sounds.

Over a string of EPs and collaborative projects, Gold Coast four-piece White Lodge have been toying with their own blend of fuzz-laden garage, flying the flag for the genre in Australia high and proud. But with the release of their self-titled debut LP, the group fully realise their sonic identity. Not simply a meticulous recreation of retro antecedents, White Lodge cut a swampy amalgam of abrasive punk, surfy rock riffs, noisy psychedelia and raw garage.

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Fitting opener, Bleach Coma sets the tone of things to come. Fuzz-soaked solos and lo-fi production compliment venomously stuttering vocals. Laced with feedback, hallucinogenic fourth track Desert Roses recounts a drug-dazed odyssey. Infectiously shambolic hooks and raw vocals showcase a primitive yet alluring sound.

In true garage fashion, crate-dived cover California Sun and the AnimalsOutcast are subjected to the White Lodge’s own buzz saw interpretations. While there’s no shortage of back to back belters, Bella-Union Creep demonstrates a darker pathos beneath the album’s sonic barrage.

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Sounding like a collision of the sonic detritus of The Cramps and The Growlers, Ancient Tides takes form as a shamanistic hymnal. Built around a sludgy vocal drawl Evil Dares shows the group at their coarsest. In contrast, the jangly riffs, dazed lyricisms and bouncing rhythms of Californian Sun and Labour of Love take a brighter tone.

Frenetic closer Sister in the Dunes brings the album to and end with a calamitously furious tempo and climactic psych out. Louder, tighter and garage to the very core, White Lodge present their best work to date on their debut record. Get at it via their Bandcamp.

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May 2, 2016

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