Music / Premieres
Dexy Oscillator - Glory
Words by Conor Lochrie
Tuesday 23rd March, 2021
With the release of their long-awaited debut album Glory today, Melbourne’s Dexy Oscillator share a collection of striking garage rock and post-punk that’s as restless as it is thoughtful.
As music collapses into post-genre without boundaries (the New York Times even wrote about it last month, which is usually a signifier of an artistic idea entering the mainstream lexicon), perhaps the last concrete genre to enjoy a revival and renewal will be post-punk: seen in cities like Toronto (Deliluh) and, most significantly, London (Shame, Goat Girl, Squid), the success of its revival was capped when the darkly poetic Dubliners Fontaines D.C. surprisingly found themselves being nominated at this year’s Grammys for Best Rock Album (that they lost to old garage icons The Strokes is for critics to decode).

In Melbourne too, post-punk has always been there or thereabouts and now Dexy Oscillator’s debut LP, Glory, can be added to the collection. It’s a cleverly constructed record, covering many facets: ‘Wasteful’ and ‘One Note’ hew close to early Parquet Courts garage; other tracks alternate between the more angular and melodic and rougher raucous dissonance; all the bases are covered.

The four-piece - Brodie Casey (bass), Woody Greene (vocals), Jake Joyce (drums), Remy Bergner (guitar) - display a sublime sense of containment. Whether it’s the pounding drums (‘Unforgiving World’) or Greene’s strutting vocals (the anthemic ‘Hateful’) leading the charge, whoever leads the march, all is in control, the destination always in sight. And Greene’s vocal befits the music. He commands and shouts like the potent IDLES lead singer Joe Talbot throughout, particularly on a track like ‘Time’; “stand up, stand tall,” he shouts in the cutting chorus of ‘Salute’, and it’s spliced with sincerity and meaning. Everything is sneered and barked, as it deserves to be.

Glory is a balancing act, alternating between mellow and menace, hesitation and thrash, melody and ferocity. They know when to unwind the tightness to allow for some chaos. The jagged and jutting rhythm of ‘Unforgiving World’ and the fast-paced rawness of ‘What keeps You Up At Night’ contrasts with the far more melodic interplay on ‘Who’ or the tense guitar buildup on ‘Modification’. By the time the thrumming and fizzing title track closes proceedings, there is no denying that this is the type of quality showcase that any debut album should be.

Glory is out today in all the usual places through WIRED. Dexy Oscillator will be launching the album at The Retreat Hotel on Saturday March 27th with Hannah Kate.