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Album Review
All of This Was Trees

All of This Was Trees
by Blue Mt Lumber


Review Date
14th June 2012
Reviewed by
Nich Cunningham

Never under-estimate the power of the cassette four-track. More than merely a sound recorder, the device is a cultural phenomenon. It may seem mundane now, but in the late 1970’s the idea that someone could sit at home and write and record their own music was an earth shattering sea change. Four-tracks are almost an ideology, often embraced as much for their limitations as their possibilities: The restricted track count can focus composition and their low fidelity sonic characteristics are still pursued by many today. Blue Mt Lumber’s debut All of This Was Trees is a fine example of this tradition as applied to fuzzed-out bedroom punk.

Blue Mt Lumber is not a forestry company from Clutha but rather the solo effort of Matthew McAuley, formerly of Brains. Content has been kept to a minimum here with just four songs but better that than overdoing it by releasing everything you have ever written. Three of the four tracks are simple driving three chord affairs with bass, drum machine, guitar, and distorted vocals. The emphasis is on melody, repetitive hooks make for catchy little numbers recalling anything from Jay Retard to Bailterspace. The energy is relentless with all three tracks maintaining a similar feel. The exception to the rule is 'This Whole Town is a Fucking Graveyard', a far more somber song almost reminiscent of something coming out of Christchurch in the 90’s albeit sans heroin - that’s a good thing.

All of This Was Trees is a good combination of style and aesthetic. While not breaking any moulds, it is a good exponent of the relevant conventions. It will be interesting to see where McAuley takes it from here. But that’s not to discount this release, which is a promising debut.


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