The Weekend Australian album review: The Necks – ‘Mindset’, November 2011

An album review for The Australian, reproduced below in its entirety.

The Necks – Mindset

On their 16th album, this Sydney-based trio opt for two 21-minute long tracks rather than the singular instrumental piece that characterises most of their past releases.

The opener, Rum Jungle, is a claustrophobic jam laced with menacing bass notes, jarring piano chords and insistent cymbal-tapping.

It’s a consuming piece of work; from the initial five-minute mess of noise emerges some flighty piano progressions and, later, a fiercely strummed electric guitar – a rarity among the Necks’ overarching modus operandi, which is best captured in the title of their 1998 live album, Piano Bass Drums.

Rum Jungle is thematically similar to their previous release, 2009’s Silverwater, in that its sustained creepiness invokes a sense in the listener of being constantly on edge.

Track two, Daylights, marks a distinct shift in mood; its gentle, noir-like atmosphere is a breath of fresh air. Its gradual uncoiling has more in common with the soothing perpetual motion of their 2003 release Drive By, which won the trio an ARIA for best jazz album.

This contrast between light and shade works well, and the absence of a narrator invites listeners to fill in the gaps themselves. Mindset is a fine addition to one of the most consistent catalogues in contemporary Australian music.

RATING: 3 ½ stars

This review was originally published in The Weekend Australian Review on November 26. It’s my first album review for the paper. For more on The Necks, visit their website.

Comments? Below.
  1. Albion Love Den says:

    A nice, clear piece. And bloody game on the subject matter – I’ve always been a bit intimidated by their works.


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