CURRENT ISSUE

SUBSCRIBE ADVERTISE

Reviewed by Briar Lawry

Opposite Sex: Hamlet

Reviewed by Briar Lawry

Opposite Sex: Hamlet

Dunedin outfit Opposite Sex had lofty ambitions with this new record, ‘Hamlet’ is the kind of title that makes you pay attention. Their sound is attention-grabbing too – dark, discordant and sometimes creepy. Things kick off with a new version of the familiar Supermarket, in which vocalist and bassist Lucy Hunter’s unashamedly Aotearoan vowels and consonants resonate against relatively simple instrumentation with just the right amount of guitar distortion. Bang on two minutes, it’s one of the shorter songs on the record, several others swinging well over five. From track two, She Said, onwards, there is some seriously decadent soundscape action in places – carefully layered, mixed and distorted tracks make for an interesting listen. Certainly not noise for noise’s sake, it has been carefully crafted by the trio and producer Nick Graham. Complicity is a marked change in sound, with sombre piano and strings. Afterwards, though, you’re shaken out of any reverie and back into big Mars Volta-esque guitars and insistent drums on Shakespearean Regicide. Tasman’s Puke has a bit of a Fall feel about its delivery, ending with the excellent line ‘it’s a great big relief to breathe again’, spoken deadpan against silence. And then the album spins back into spindly piano territory – with instrumentals and vocals that swell to an intense conclusion. Listening to ‘Hamlet’ is something of an emotional rollercoaster. If you’re willing to get white-knuckled every now and then, when something unexpected jumps out at you, you’re in for a treat.