Australia’s burgeoning psychedelic and garage rock scene has produced a number of notable acts in recent years, including Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. While these groups have all embraced and mined the sound of 60s and 70s psychedelia, many have to varying degrees been informed by the more brash and aggressive garage rock and punk of the time as well. Hideous Sun Demon distinctly occupy the rougher end of that spectrum, embracing a DIY punk aesthetic as they bring a blistering and raucous garage-psych sound through a very West Australian lens. Their lyrics at times satirically tackle the local music scene, as well as some of its inhabitants and their lifestyles, while also touching on the more macabre and sinister themes often associated with their style.
Hideous Sun Demon have been slowly emerging in prominence since their 2013 debut EP Meat, establishing themselves with full-length LPs Sweat (2014) and Industry Connections (2016) – fast-paced, no-nonsense, energetic albums. And on Fame Erotic Dream they seem content to carry on in a similar way with another brisk album bursting with energy and frantic, fast-paced rhythms – albeit one that also feels tighter and more self-assured than their previous efforts.
The album wastes no time getting started, crashing straight in to the thunderous chords and circling riffs of opener and single “Antithesis”. The energy doesn’t let up for another four songs – until “SSPPUUNNKK” comes in to slow things down with a crawling, doomy stoner rock guitar intro, launching into a more relatively mid-tempo instrumental. Truth be told, the songs in between do fairly little to stand out, most of them following the same rhythmic and instrumental patterns as the opener. “Hard Out” is essentially the same song a second time, though “More Colour” distinguishes itself with a more fittingly monochrome tone. “Idiotic Dream”, aside from its humorous title, is a clinical takedown of some evidently particularly undesirable character known to the band, though it also stands out through the slow build of the guitars into a storm towards the end. The aforementioned “SSPPUUNNKK” takes that lyrical theme even further, but is even more cutting and insidious, precisely taking down every part of this character’s personality, underscored by a disdainful “fuck off”. But it is still “Antithesis” which especially stands out, perhaps by virtue of being the opener, but also through having more well-placed ideas – it’s easily one of the most impressive cuts on here, a brisk and breezy garage punk tune that detours into a warbly barrage of psychedelic guitars and a darker, more edgy descending chord progression in a matter of just under three minutes, essentially setting an example for what comes afterwards.
Following the mid-album comedown of sorts, the rest is more of a mixed bag – there are still more fairly standard, indistinct cuts like the brief “No More Kids” or “RCB!!!”. But “Social Media Deities” comes in with a brighter, somewhat beachy tone, while “Ambition”, after a brief pause, shifts into a measured and methodical, almost sweet guitar solo in its second half. It brings to mind the gradual brewing of a quiet storm, ending in a buzzing squall of feedback in one of the album’s best moments. “Crap Revelations”, belying another humorous title, opens with one of the album’s darkest passages, some dread-inducing guitar melodies, setting the scene for the album’s most nihilistic song which is filled with words of emptiness and pointlessness. “You Got Too Cool Man” is the token epic closer – a more measured and calmly-paced piece that ties in lyrically to the earlier “Idiotic Dream” and “SSPPUUNNKK” in its takedown of perhaps another unknown character, over a far more wandering and spaced-out instrumentation than what came before it – though still retaining the power through the screeching, burning guitars that periodically emerge.
While Fame Erotic Dream isn’t the most varied or nuanced of albums, whether this will affect one’s enjoyment of it depends on the individual listener, as being varied or nuanced evidently isn’t what the band were aiming for in the first place. What Hideous Sun Demon have presented here is a sharp, sarcastic, no-nonsense burst of energy that is no longer than it needs to be and will be a rewarding listen given the right mind state. Compared with their previous efforts too, the album feels structurally tighter and more refined sonically. It may not be the most complex of efforts, but it is just simply a fun album to rock out to and perhaps release tension. Sometimes that may be all one needs.
Fame Erotic Dream is released Friday 27th July via Hell Beach Records.