Lawrence English – IT’S UP TO US TO LIVE


A splendid title, which makes me think about how uselessly people strive to secure better living conditions for themselves and their dearest ones, only to meet some scramble-brained individual whose lack of acumen destroys their best intentions. The cover artwork is also pretty striking, Marian Drew’s dead birds and fruits graphically juxtaposing the juice of life and the coldness of death. Then there’s the music, which could be the most interesting that I’ve heard from the Australian soundscaper to date. English is one of those artists who don’t supply too much information about source materials (though a little can be gleaned by looking at the label’s website). It’s Up to Us to Live grabs the attention instantly , whether it’s the penetrating mega-rattles of “TheLoveHasNoFace”, or the breathy, ebbing-and-flowing electronics and string punctuations of “About the End”, which turns into a “Fripp & Eno vs. jangling acoustic guitar” landscape before vanishing into the ionosphere. In general, these tracks, even the noisiest ones, hint at a tentatively constructed phraseology which prevents the record from becoming a sheer mass of unconnected mayhem; logic and thoughtfulness prevail, despite an occasional tendency to self-destruction (“Somewhere Inside Me Is You”) and a measure of inarticulateness that only adds to the intrigue. But when we arrive at the ominous wash-and-hum of “Genuine Reflected” or get frozen by the flanged-out grilling of the conclusive “The Slow Weave”, all we need to do is let our inner sentinel take a deserved rest. This is scarcely penetrable yet unquestionably absorbing stuff.


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