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Review: FOAM’s Fucking off Party

– by Hannah Nissen

Last Saturday night, local boys FOAM graced the stage of humble Perth hotspot, The Bird to say goodbye for a couple of months, while two of the three-piece travel around, and all three take a break from their recent whirlwind success. Although the night brought onlookers the likes of nu-jazz guys Kashikoi, and the visceral energy from Doctopus, FOAM stole the show, and after four years together, and no doubt countless whip-lash grievances, their contagious, fond freedom radiated with as much pride and nostalgia as closing night at the New York MET.

The night began in true dilapidated fashion, I arrived a little too late and a little too drunk, and managed to stumble in and catch the final few songs from Dream Rimmy. Through their psychedelic-melody and unapologetic synthy sound-transfusions, even the gaggle of black clothing that swarmed the bar couldn’t help but phase out and look on at the bands vigour. Dream Rimmy, whose name sounds almost as bittersweet as their agridulce melody collective, encompassed some of the better elements of shoegaze, and combined a soundscape of harsh guitar tones against sugary, transcendental vocals from harmonic leading lady Ali Flintoff. With just enough chaos and idiosyncrasy, the sour grit played off the sweet sounds, and in the intimate space, set the scene for an already bustling night.

The next hour brought illustrious locals, three-piece Doctopus, who proceeded to rouse a lot of people from outside the smoke-heavy venue. With a spontaneous verse from one unruly mc, the set was full of vivacity and just a lot of fun. They focused on reeling in the wistful energy lingering after Dream Rimmy’s set, and through songs like “Chronic Fatigue” and “Stadium Rock” essentially…fuck us in the head with it. If Mikal Cronin and Ty Sygall ever came together and had a freaky love child, but that love child got really angsty and somehow also a prescription to Ritalin, you would have Doctopus. After having major success with their debut album Buddies back in 2013, a supporting gig on tour with Pond landed them a notable reputation nationally. With gruff minors and vocal abrasions similar to that of Caleb Followill’s in Aha Shake Heartbreak, Doctopus’ live performance oozed verve and created a hoard of discombobulated heads nodding in approval, a flurry of drunk eccentrics zombie-shuffling their way to psycho-status.

Lastly, and most importantly, FOAM took to the stage for an uprising of raw intensity and new wave-grunge at its finest, opening with “Warm,” off their latest EP The Feeling is Mutual, which was released back in March, they created a wall of structure-quaking sound. FOAM humbly demanded attention and stole the show that sadly marks the end of their musical endeavours for the next couple months.

FOAM‘s melodies are derivative of their simple and aggressive dream-pop, evident in their song “You Look Nothing Like Your Picture, but I Like You Still.” However, their particular sound channeled influences from the likes of Johnny Cash and Steve Albini. The squalling of Joel Martin’s vocals fused perfectly with the distortion of his guitar and the savage delivery of Harley Barnaby on bass. While some artists swarm the stage in an attempt to create more sound, FOAM opt for the bare necessities of succinct simplicity, welded together through Jackson Hawdon’s seamless drumming, the three-piece delivered a thunderous sound, cementing their distorted riffs and new wave-grunge to be a Perth favourite.

Their sludgy, alternative-punk influences melted over all of their songs, especially their more recent tunes, like “Gentle Snip” and “Pussy Hammer.” Finishing the night with”Four Men Enter a Room,” their new stuff reflected their progressive shift to embracing the organic garage undertones. Overall the night was just loose. FOAM‘s banter was legit, their timing was tight, and their gritty sound lulled the drunken devil inside me to uproar and keep drinking, and for that, I thank them, as well as sincerely apologise to Kashikoi for missing their set, and anyone that I may have tried to sing to, beat up, or start a band with.

A band’s atmosphere rarely has the ability to not only affect their surroundings, but actually infect their surroundings. FOAM, thanks to some help from KashikoiDream Rimmy and Doctopus, managed to do so, with vengeance. They transferred the bursting ether of energy to all corners of the intimate space, rendering “The Bird” to be, still, one of the best places to catch any act with this sort of sound, and this sort of presence. And although they may be jumping ship, and running off for the next few months to party, FOAM have wholeheartedly created for themselves a name that will be waiting here, with impunity, for their awaited return.

 

Photo Credit: FOAM

 

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