Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK

HTRK - Marry Me Tonight

Released in 2009 and recorded well before that, Marry Me Tonight is the first full length album from the Australian trio HTRK, pronounced Hate Rock, and it's a solid and engaging listen. The entire album is taken up with cold, lumbering basslines, taut clinical drum rhythms, and abstract guitar lines. The sullen almost ambivalent voice of Jonnine Clementine Standish holds it all together with a detached aloofness. For the most part, Marry Me Tonight plays out on something close to a post-rock sound with a strong sexual element. "Pull your panties down a little more, get on your knees, on all fours ..." she asks dispassionately on 'Panties' over rabid guitar frenetics. Or on 'Rent Boy': "You are there on the floor, unbutton my shirt, I've had a hard day..." .

The cold, clinical sexual themes are matched with a cold, clinical sound, particularly due to the repetitious bass patterns and looped drum rhythms. Marry Me Tonight rarely strays from their core template. Everything seems to hang from the bass and drum rhythms. Guitars are reduced to short bursts of jagged textures or flourishes of lush rippling notes, which appear to pick up on Keith Levene's work in PiL. Standish is supremely nonchalant in her icy coolness. Only the melodies of 'Rent Boy' and 'Fascinator' go within touching distance of a pop melody. When they do expand the sound, as on 'Shoot You Up' they pit funky bass against incessant industrial rhythms, bringing the entire thing closer to label mates Pan Sonic. HTRK cast their influences wide. The spidery guitar flourishes and looped drum machine rhythms of 'Kiss Before The Fall' even recall cold eighties goth music. The late Rowland S. Howard co-produced this with Lindsay Gravina. And the former Crime and the City Solution, These Immortal Souls and Birthday Party member sprinkles Marry Me Tonight with his customary skulking abrasive guitar work on 'Ha', 'Panties' and 'Disco'. HTRK don't fall back on pastiche though Marry Me Tonight is injected with an appealing doom laden lethargy that is all their own.

This is a knowingly provocative record in terms of musical influences and themes which they play out on their own terms. Sean Stewart the young bass player whose sound underpinned much of these tracks died unexpectedly earlier this year, so how HTRK evolve from now remains unclear but Marry Me Tonight, which we just received from Blast First Petite, is well worth your time. For more information go to