Album Review – Wasted 8 by Austin Bullock (2020) (self released)

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Compared to his previous albums, this is a weird(er) version of Rhode Isalnd based Austin Bullock, but ultimately way more compelling.

The following announcement accompanies the release on Bandcamp:

Wasted 8 is the first of 3 albums being released in 2020. These 3 albums fit the theme of “8 hours labor, 8 hours recreation, 8 hours rest.” Each album has 8 songs, each symbolizing an hour of the day, adding up to 24 total songs to symbolize the 24 hours in a day.

Certainly an ambitious project, the above excerpt succinctly explains the sort of post-apocalytic/restorative sound that typifies the album’s juxtaposition of power-pop / fuzz and post-punk. Perhaps beneath these vague reference point there are two primary stylistics that dominate.

Initially, the hyperkineticism of Sound The Alarm (see below), Interpretation and Halo course isolated, metronomic jangled riffs, behind psychedelia that just about stop short of where the dangerous territory of post rock begins. The tracks are sparse, creating an atmosphere that force deliberation about aural soundscapes that are largely left to the readers interpretation.

If the above tracks often allow post-punk atmospheres to dominate the more melodic psyche inflections, the melodies in tracks such as Don’t Be Like That (see below), Waste Case, Not For Sale allow Bullock’s propensity for heavily fuzzed power-pop to accentuate his ability to step into melodic ear-worm territory.

As always with Bullock, it is the sort of power-pop that will never really get your Auntie and Uncles ‘bopping’ at familiy weddings, but more crucially, the sort that adds the modernity of ‘leftfield’, to a sound that might just about keep the genre alive in these times of perpetual plagiarism.

Multi release projects like this can sometimes implode in a sense of the artist’s own ‘concept’. However, if the remaining two albums can simultaneously stay the right side of bizarre and just the other side of traditional power-pop, then this act is going to be a ‘must follow’ in 2020.

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