The phrase ‘eagerly anticipated’ is
bandied about with little restraint in the world of music
reviews. Unfortunately for purposes of variety, in the case of
Midnight Juggernauts most recent LP no other expression comes close
to sufficing. Following on from 2007s ardently-received Dystopia,
the instantly striking thing about the Melbourne trio’s latest
record is its polished immediacy; this is not a release that takes
multiple listens to warm to.
From the sublime drama of instrumental
opener Induco, which manages to sound both buoyant and
sepulchral, to up-tempo prog freakout Lara Versus the Savage Pack,
where menace and levity share an uneasy coexistence, The Crystal
Axis is as accomplished, compelling and dynamic a follow-up as
could be hoped for.
The only real breathing space comes
with Lemuria, a minute-long melting pot of carnival rhythms
and Faustian distemper that serves to intro closer Fade to Red,
itself a dreamy aural wasteland of scorched synthesisers and
slow-motion melodies featuring the modal refrain “This is our final
goodbye.” Let’s hope they don’t really mean it.