Eddy Current Suppression Ring

Rush to Relax

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On its third full-length, Rush to Relax, Australian quartet Eddy Current Suppression Ring expand on the simple, effective blueprint that made its first two albums such word-of-mouth hits among underground rock, punk, and garage listeners. With that in mind, it would be easy to write off ECSR as simply a punk band -- or go one genre further and call them a "garage punk" band -- but it would ultimately be lazy. Yes, the band's first two albums are filled with tough, tight rock songs built on raw, buzzing guitars, Stoogey raunch, and that uniquely Aussie musical intensity. But hardly beneath the surface at all is a melodic intelligence that far exceeds your typical bash-and-slop outfit. For Rush to Relax, released on Goner Records in 2010, the band's considerable songwriting skill is made more apparent and stretched to new spheres. A "precision punk" core remains evident, yet there's a much broader, more expansive pop sensibility at play here. "Tuning Out," for example, has a typically crisp feel, but at the same time allows for slinky little guitar lines to work into the groove and throw things off just so. "Gentleman" is a rather heartfelt (though arch) guitar ballad that features a totally unexpected, ragged, Crazy Horse-style guitar solo. While the keyboard underpinnings of "Second Guessing" allow a certain kiwi pop playfulness to creep up on the band's tightly wound delivery. The songs "Walked into a Corner" and "Isn't It Nice" are both vintage ECSR in one-minute wallops, but the album-closing title track clocks in at 24 minutes, and, after about six minutes, rides mellow ocean samples all the way to the horizon. In the end, the unexpectedly loose, protean feel of Rush to Relax makes for a wholly satisfying step forward from one of Australia's finest bands of the first decade of the 2000s.

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