The Vine album review: AXXONN – ‘Let’s Get It Straight’, December 2010

An album review for The Vine. Excerpt below.

AXXONN – Let’s Get It Straight

Once a duo featuring No Anchor (and ex-Iron On) bassist (and sometime TheVine contributor) Ian Rogers, AXXONN now exists solely as an outlet for Brisbane artist Tom Hall, whose spectral sounds are captured on Let’s Get It Straight, Hall’s debut full-length under the AXXONN moniker.

Stylistically, it’s a surprisingly mixed bag: where past releases consisted almost exclusively of noise and electronica-based compositions, here, Hall displays a willingness to step outside his comfort zone. He experiments with layered acoustic and electric guitars in ‘Golfini’, and a clean piano tone in ’10 Pound Trouble’, which opens with an extended sample of sparrows chirping. It’s unexpected, and almost laughable at first; then, cute. It’s the only moment that could be construed as humourous across nearly 50 minutes of furrowed-brow concentration. This isn’t to say that the album isn’t enjoyable – it is – but while it’s a tough record to hate, it’s even tougher to love. Diverse though the sounds contained within Let’s Get It Straight are, there’s few highlights, in the true sense of the word. Instead, the album works best as just that: a document to be observed in full. If just one track appeared on your iPod Shuffle, you’d probably skip it.

But if you began with ‘Slave Driver’, the album opener, and let it play through to ‘Nai’, it works. ‘Slave Driver’ opens with less a roar than a glacial synth yawn; it evokes imagery of deep space, or an arctic tundra, or somewhere desolate; somewhere free from mankind’s greasy fingerprints. This feeling of isolation is why I return to the album: gradually, Hall’s soundscapes seem to increase in both density and volume until you find yourself lost in the mix.

For the full review, visit The Vine. For more AXXONN, visit his website. The music video for his song ‘Let’s Get It Straight‘ is embedded below. Watch it – it’s great.

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