Darth Vegas ‘Brainwashing For Dirty Minds’
from The Brag, May 2012 (4 stars)
This long-awaited release from Sydney seven-piece Darth Vegas lurches from fun house to haunted house, vaults from church organ to circus organ, leaps from vaudeville to heavy metal – and that’s just in the first 90 seconds. Led by multi-instrumentalist, screen composer and singer Michael Lira, Darth Vegas’ follow up to its 2004 self-titled release picks up right where the band left off. Brainwashing For Dirty Minds is just as uncompromising, blitzing through dozens of genres at a blinding pace.
But is it ‘music for musicians’? Likely, it will indeed appeal to musos who themselves enjoy lampooning then skewering the status quo of rhythm, song structure and time signatures. But approached alone with headphones, anyone could appreciate the craftsmanship of these songs as long as they have the concentration to keep up with the mostly instrumental pastiche of mayhem. The rapid and reckless genre abuse is confronting at first but, with repeated listens, the marvel of Darth Vegas’ accomplishment reveals itself. ‘Music for a Haitian Voodoo Priestess’ takes you to a seedy Caribbean lounge party, with gurgling synths calling out to big band horns before some Melvins-esque metal swoops down for a punishing cameo. ‘Swamp Thing’ begins like Dragnet noir on acid before descending into a sci-fi attack of distorted guitars and spooky Theremin. ‘Prokletsvo Gummina Kokoshke’ teases us with gyspy guitars only to morph into a perfectly bungled death polka with a four-second jazz break.
Brainwashing For Dirty Minds is the soundtrack for a freakshow on Mars watched by zombies in tuxedoes. It’s not a journey for everyone but for those that do take the trip, a preposterously peculiar experience awaits.
- Tyler Broyles