Song: Armlock – Power of a Waterfall review

by Chris Hatch

There’s a duality that runs throughout Power Of A Waterfall – its rudimentary, boxy guitars, and dry, distorted drum track make up a sense that, musically, it’s an unfinished demo. Its chorus comes by as an almost imperceptible change in chord structure – there is no production trickery to raise it up, or to make it soar. Instead, Armlock press home their melody with a hypnotic persistence – their grip on you tightens gradually – slowly – so much so that by the end of the track that boxy drum track is thudding with anger, that simple acoustic guitar sounds gigantic, and a blotch of white skin on your wrist marks out the inverse shadow of where they’ve held you – shackled.

 Lyrically, the Melbourne duo address a distaste for the idea of a modern masculinity, or of modern life in general. Inter-cutting inconsequential, petty concerns with moments of abstract philosophy (‘Iron the crease/Truth is a virtue/Blood in the water/Burn off the thought/PAYG’) – it feels like pages torn from business manuals and self help books – snippets of the monotony of daily life are laid out against an existential search for identity. Its chorus wrestles with the frustration of needing to inhabit multiple guises – lover, breadwinner, carer – ‘You’re a man that’s what you said/Put food on the table and put sheets on the bed/pull yourself up/Get something to prove/Your foot on the shovel and your hands on the book.’

The modest production, and clipped, pieced-together lyrics are a trick of misdirection – you barely notice that its hypnotic, meditative structure and melody have wound their way tight up against you. Harnessing the power of subtlety, this is a uniquely coaxing debut single.

Album, Trust, is out on 2nd June through Solitaire Recordings.

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