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He Danced Ivy : Optimistic Cynic

The Brisbane four-piece are riding high on energy.

Brisbane-based four-piece He Danced Ivy sound very irritated and aggressive on their new release Optimistic Cynic. Cheer up lads, youth is on your side. But when you open your EP with ‘Guillotine’, it’s a clear statement of intent, as is ‘Spitting On Infinity’. So then, explain ‘Cutting It Fine’ – fierce and unrestrained but with a hint of Scissor Sisters-esque glittery pop – which later becomes very relentless and unhinged.

Then comes the fast-paced ‘April Fools’, which, loose in its sense of genre features venomous soaring riffs and wayward vocals aplenty. Closer ‘The Singing Tree’ gives the impression that He Danced Ivy is an explosion in a guitar shop. By the end of all the clanging the listener ought not be surprised if his brain had melted.

There are plenty of gimmicks in this release but thankfully they are too young to descend into self parody just yet. Meanwhile they tread the line of being unpredictable to a point where they often wrong-foot convention to strive for the unorthodox approach. Coloured by breathy vocals, spasm-ing bass lines and venturing into many tangential moments, you cannot dismiss this band, yet they should try to stick to fewer ideas to develop a more fixed vision.

6/10