Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hotel Wrecking City Traders & Gary Arce - Hotel Wrecking City Traders & Gary Arce

Hotel Wrecking City Traders & Gary Arce
Hotel Wrecking City Traders & Gary Arce
Bro Fidelity Records

Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) based experimental psychedelic rock outfit Hotel Wrecking City Traders aren’t exactly the most prolific of recording artists, but when the duo (Comprising of guitarist Toby ‘Wrecker’ Matthews, and brother/drummer Ben ‘Wrecker’ Matthews) do release something, you know it’s always going to be something interesting, daring and different.
Twelve months on from their ‘Somer/Wantok’ E.P. effort, Hotel Wrecking City Traders are back with something new, and this time it’s a collaborative effort with one of the founding figures of U.S. desert rock movement Gary Arce (Who’s most notable acts include Yawning Man, Ten East and The Sort Of Quartet).
Hotel Wrecking City Traders and Arce came together initially in 2009, when the band played support to Ten East’s tour of Australia the same year. Sure enough, one idea led to another, with ‘Hotel Wrecking City Traders & Gary Arce’ the results of the two parties’ joint musical venture.
On paper, it sounds intriguing, in the sense that the pair come from opposing musical backgrounds. But despite their differences, ‘Hotel Wrecking City Traders & Gary Arce’ works, with the two tracks allowing both artists to explore their own ideas and sounds, all the while working with each other to create something altogether different from what you would otherwise expect individually.
The opening track (Or Side A for those who have bought the limited edition vinyl) ‘Coventina’s Cascade’ starts off with a slow and steady build up of Ben’s thundering drums and Toby’s fuzz out guitar tones, with Arce (Who also provides some bass to both tracks) overlaying some drifting and atmospheric/calm guitar work over the top of. Initially starting out with some reserve, the track builds in intensity and breaks down, with the Matthews brothers standing out more in the denser moments of the song, and Arce’s subtle guitar work rising to the surface through the sparser and gentler passages. The overall effect is a track that ebbs and flows with gradual builds of intense instrumentation followed by passages of open space, which has a hypnotising flow on effect on the listener.
The second track ‘Traverse Of The Oxen’ (Or Side B) doesn’t stray too far from the sound and direction of the opener, with the song starting out in a gentle manner, before the brothers once again start ramping up their heavily grooved sound. The build and breakdowns are notably more gradual than those demonstrated on the opener, and the bass seems to take on a greater role filling out the overall sound here as well. But while both tracks share a similar structure, ‘Traverse Of The Oxen’ does seem to be more in line with a working together of both differing musical elements and ideas at the start and towards the tail end, but more of what you would expect from Hotel Wrecking City Traders on their own in the heavier middle section, where Arce’s spaced out guitar notes nearly disappear under the noise the Matthews’ create.
‘Hotel Wrecking City Traders & Gary Arce’, like all of the band’s releases from the past, is something a little different, and something that doesn’t always make sense the first time around. But given time and finding the right headspace to let it all sink in, this really is another crowning achievement for both Hotel Wrecking City Traders and Arce.

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© Justin Donnelly