Guardian Singles - Feed Me to the Doves LP (whirlpool blue vinyl)
Guardian Singles - Feed Me to the Doves (Trouble in Mind/USA)
Auckland, New Zealand post-punk group Guardian Singles return to Trouble In Mind for their follow-up to 2021’s eponymous debut with “Feed Me To The Doves”, a ten track socio-political burner addressing our collective spiritual chaos that pulls influence from across the history of punk & permeates it into something decidedly Aotearoan & uniquely their own in ways that are both personal & universal.
The album explodes right out of the gate with the caffeinated, buzzing riffs of “Chad and Stacey” before dialing back the maelstrom for “Pit Viper”s steady bop that lies in contrast to its haunted lyrics confronting time & memory loss. “Manic Attraction” is next, with its consistent strum & addictively memorable riffs & gang vocals about toxic conspiracy theories & their effect on society, with Campbell’s sly rhythmic shifts adding a subtle complexity to the proceedings. “Metal Fingers”’ triumphant squall cascades outward next, its siren-like guitar reaching near-shoegaze levels of controlled chaos. “Bleak Park” closes out side one, a slow-burner that ebbs & flows like the tide, before crescendoing into a scathing guitar solo at the end. “Com Trans” opens the second side, its lock-step swing & shouted vocals calling to mind Roger Miller & Co’s best work, particularly as Burton shouts “A New Day” repeatedly near the song’s end. “Nightmare Town”s melancholic, caffeinated twang confronts obsessions with multi-level marketing, the solipsism of hustle culture, and the cult-like behavior of crypto influencers. “Untied, United” is a moody jammer about the loss of a loved one, & the idea of a soul dispersing thru the universe like radio waves. Its insistent rhythmic pulse fades into “Shimmer”s nostalgic, flanged-out guitar riffs that would make both The Cure AND The Pixies jealous. “Ground Swell” closes out the album in the same nervous stutter it started with; an urgent guitar & drum beat that leads into an acid-burn shuffle punctuated by a blackened bridge section before collapsing onto a spiraling guitar riff. A perfect environment for a song about a New Zealand lobby group of racist climate change deniers.
“Feed Me To The Doves” is the first album to feature the current, long-standing lineup of Thom Burton (guitar, vocals), Fiona Campbell (drums), Yolanda Fagan (bass), and Durham Fenwick (lead guitar). The band has been playing live together now for a few years & it shows. The songs herein vary from the deeply personal, to sketches or postcards, as Burton says “…scribbled while watching the dregs of a delirious culture war play out through broken smartphones and praline vape clouds.” The manic performances feel lived-in and the rhythms are wound TIGHT, this time expertly recorded at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios in Auckland by engineer Steven Marr, who Burton says had a “great sense of being able to keep the urgency of the songs while adding lushness and keeping things sounding like they’re about to break at any second”. Marr was crucial in helping the band take the album’s scrappy beginnings and mold them into something more cohesive and beautiful. The album was once again mastered by Australian legend Mikey Young.