It's hard to say if John Sinclair or Scott Morgan first came up with the phrase "Guitar Army," but Eastlink are certainly putting the concept to good use on their self-titled debut album. Eastlink consist of four guitarists -- Ben Hepworth, Lee Parker, Zephyr Pavey, and Johan Rashid -- kicking up a significant ruckus while a drummer (in this case Al Montfort) keeps time and imposes something resembling order over the proceedings. While the guitarists sometimes go into full skronk mode all at once, most of the time they take a more artful approach on Eastlink, with the musicians engaging in a rhythmic give and take with one another, sometimes playing in patterns that sound rough but harmonious and other times rising into a charging cacophony that will challenge the average people's tolerance for noise. Despite the depth of Eastlink's echoey noise jams and the ferocity of the group's attack at its peak, many of these songs appear to have been built around standard chord progressions, providing some familiar ground for the rockists in the audience, and the loops and repetitive patterns featured in several numbers suggest that some of these folks have a serious interest in minimalism. Eastlink's music rarely sounds arty, but it's certainly inventive and clever, and the contemplative lo-fi rumble of "Eastie Zoom 1," "Dinnerchat," and "Thatcher's Dead" makes for a fascinating counterpoint against the more punk-oriented kicks of "Gina," "Overtime," and "What a Silly Day (Australia Day)." While the members of Eastlink are involved in a number of noted Australian indie bands, this music has a sonic identity very much its own, and this music doesn't scream "side project" as much as "new creative direction," and hopefully the members of this quintet will let their ideas simmer into a second album in the future.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming