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Is Tropical Fuck Storm's 'A Laughing Death In Meatspace' one of the best Australian releases of the year?

When Tropical Fuck Storm appeared as if overnight last year, there was a great deal of mystery shrouding the four-piece – though it was erased bit by bit as the band dropped a series of 7” records. 

With their sweltering first single ‘Chameleon Paint’, Tropical Fuck Storm made it known upfront that Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin weren’t here to replicate The Drones.

Above all else, A Laughing Death In Meatspace is fresh – possibly the most inspired record to hit this year. The lyrics are consistently clever, often riddled with wordplay and snarky social commentary – though, never elitist or entitled – while the bone-rattling riffs are a force to be reckoned with in and of themselves.

Much like the band itself, the record isn’t here to tread lightly or beat around the bush, with every moment attacking with the force of a rabid dog, jaws bared and spit flying. It’s carefully constructed chaos – never rigid, yet detailed and deliberate. The raucous riffs and apparent disorder are contrasted perfectly with quick-witted one-liners that fit together like verbal jigsaw pieces.

‘Antimatter Animals’ serves an overflowing soup of swirling fuzz guitar accompanied by a barrage of one liners; ‘Soft Power’ is anything but soft and all power as abrasive guitar refrains reverberate against chanted chorus lines; ‘Shellfish Toxin’ swells eerily as it morphs from summery, seagull-filled serenity in a distorted, chaotic jumble; and ‘A Laughing Death In Meatspace’ brings with it a chance for reprieve, the stripped back melody and softly sung lyrics serving as a chance to come up for air among its full-throttle counterparts.

Each track brings a distinctive chapter to the overall narrative that is A Laughing Death in Meatspace. ‘Chameleon Paint’ and ‘Rubber Bullies’ are rhythmic to the point of catharsis while ‘The Future of History’ is calculated and cool-headed. Throughout, Liddiard, Kitschin and bassist/vocalist Erica Dunn share the vocals, often harmonising as a trio or taking turns on the lead, which lends an inimitable feel to each song as well as mirroring the textural nature of the melodies at play. If this is just the first taste of Tropical Fuck Storm, we’re in for a hell of a ride.

9.5/10