Over the course of their earliest recordings, including their 2015 full-length debut, Stem Together, Australia's Erasers -- the duo of Perth musicians Rebecca Orchard and Rupert Thomas -- established a downcast, minimalist rock with psychedelic and post-punk overtones and an increasing reliance on drone. Reflecting influences like John Cale and Aussie contemporaries Fabulous Diamonds, their third album, Constant Connection, digs deeper into this approach, using denser, more immersive layers of primary components including analog synths, guitars, and Fender Rhodes keyboards alongside Orchard's deadpan, Nico-esque vocals. Setting an unwaveringly hypnotic tone for the album, "I Understand" introduces sustained, minor-interval organ tones, muffled drum loops, and circular synth patterns featuring murky, vibrating timbres, all of which collectively alternate between two chords. Touches of flatly melodic guitar, additional synths, and occasional vocals in the realm of "Embrace the fear/Your motive's clear/I understand" flesh out the track. Both song lengths and the record's minimal drum patterns do vary from track to track -- the stick clicks of "You See" and "Away from It All," the title track's open hi-hat, and some with no percussion at all undeniably change things up -- but Constant Connection's basement-dwelling timbral palette persists. Midway through the eight-track set, "A Breeze" complements its drudging rhythms and delay-bolstered spooky tone with topical lyrics inspired by women feeling unsafe walking alone at night ("I can see you coming for me"). When the closing song, "Easy to See," incorporates babbling water and crickets as if to underscore Erasers' nocturnal intent, it seems to do so while offering a passageway back to reality. While Constant Connection will certainly come off as repetitive and relatively monotone to those looking for melodies and hooks, in the tradition of its inspirations, it succeeds in inhabiting a suffocating atmosphere that's at once gloomy, haunting, and cool.
Constant Connection Review
by Marcy Donelson