The Vine album review: Collarbones – ‘Iconography’, March 2011

An album review for The Vine. Excerpt below.

Collarbones – Iconography
(Two Bright Lakes)

Despite being written and arranged by two dudes living in different cities, Collarbones’ debut record is surprisingly cohesive. The product of the interstate collaborations (or should that be collarborations? *cymbal crash*) between Sydney-based Marcus Whale and Adelaide native Travis Cook, Iconography is the disorienting soundtrack to a ride through multiple sounds and scenes: electronica, pop, R&B and hip-hop all seem to inform the duo’s sound in equal measures. This has been Collarbones’ best asset since Whale and Cook began fooling around together in 2007: they can’t be confused with anyone else, they’re on their own wavelength. Iconography is worthy of your attention if only for its unique individuality.

Describing Collarbones’ music robs the experience of much of its pleasure, so here’s a couple of cliff notes. Most every song is built around an eclectic selection of sampled beats, synths and instrumentation, all of which are chopped and shunted into a shifting mass of sound. The results feel organic and effortless, the effects beguiling. In spite of the disjointed nature of their compositions, the production smooths over most jagged edges to ensure Iconography stays on a fairly even keel. Whale sings on the majority of the album’s 11 tracks; more often than not, his voice is discombobulated just as much as the surrounding instrumentation. Some of the album’s best moments are lyricless; the hook of ‘Id’ – if it can even be called a hook – is essentially a symphony of swelling vocal samples, intercut with staccato beats. Previous singles ‘Beaman Park’ and ‘Kill Off The Vowels’ feature Whale’s voice prominently, though the songs’ moods are vastly disparate. The latter is bent around a dark, almost industrial vibe and lower-register singing; ‘Beaman Park’ pitch-shifts Whale’s voice to improbably lofty heights. Both work incredibly well.

For the full review, visit The Vine. For more Collarbones, visit their Tumblr. Music video their song ‘Don Juan‘ embedded below.

Elsewhere: an interview with Marcus Whale of Collarbones for The Vine

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