Bacterium, Look At Your Motor Go is the debut (under this name after two as Brown) from a band which I could ascertain before doing a Google-y that they were from Dunedin. Yes, the old Dunedin Sound syndrome, a curse and a blessing at the same time, a badge of respect and a pigeon hole. But New Zealand’s southernmost student city is often its most creative and there’s a sense of history and an independent strain that burns within the modern musical scene.
Michael Cathro’s strained vocals drop-kick over the whole werk, and he’s joined by brother Paul on bass, Theo Francis on guitar, and sticksman Ben Sargeant. The name is an anagram for A Lunch Hater. Or maybe it’s Hale Crath Neu. Maybe you can come up with another one.
Though now imprisoned in Auckland, they know where they come from: opening track Corstorphine provides images of state housing and “rugby league played on the field by the chip shop”, and occasionally someone will get stabbed. Once We Were School Kids (Drunk on Youth and Friendship) continues the stresses and enjoyment of growing up in a small city: “bum-puffing cigarettes out the back, near the skip behind the school.”
85, meanwhile, lopes over to the opposite age scale, Cathro taking on the role of a pensioner finding her age overbearing. “I’ve hated my husband now for forty years”, she has outlived one of her three children, and her faith is waning.
If all this sounds like an album that permits people to reminisce about their lives, Mortality (A Million Years Ago) throws a mini spanner in the works by taking a Tardis back to last year, to an age when humans were culturally diverse, and had individual character traits.
The word diverse can apply to Bacterium. There’s an antipodeon feel to it, but equally there’s elements of Albion, and I can detect hints of the Kooks throughout. You can take that as a compliment if you wish; or a slur depending on what mood you may be in.
Buy this album from here .. http://hatheunclear.bandcamp.com/album/bacterium-look-at-your-motor-go