The Chemist’s debut album, Ballet In The Badlands, serves as an aspirational platform for sowing the seeds of Australian alternative rock.
From the swamp rock of “Heaven’s Got A Dress Code” to the vaudeville inspired “Spray Paint Of Praise (Still A Statue In The Wind)” The Chemist dually refuse to shirk away from themes of the abject.
This can be best demonstrated in the sick, twisted brilliance of “Test Tubes (Only Forgotten Son)”, with its Kurt Cobain-like narrative and chord augmentation.
Despite its immaculate composition, the record still retains a dirty grittiness reflective of a harsh hyperrealism.
Its essence is best extracted from the wild shenanigans of “Stripped Paint”, full of discord guitar, bluesy turnaround riffs, swinging drums and spastic vocals.
With the rare bright ditty in the form of “Sparrow’s Shadow” being sufficiently closed off by Tom Waits-like rhetoric in “Long Road Back”, the record concludes by coming full circle.
By not pigeonholing themselves and blindly emulating an inflated cliché of a genre, the Perth band have opened up a whole new landscape.
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Who said everything ends once you hit the Nullarbor? If this band is anything to go by, that’s where it all begins.