The Big Issue album review: Oliver Tank — ‘Slow Motion Music’, January 2014

A music review for The Big Issue, printed in issue #449 of the magazine.

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oliver tank reviewJust when you thought he couldn’t get any more melancholic, Oliver Tank further dials down the emotion on his new EP. Slow Motion Music is an unrelentingly ambitious listen, the Sydney artist carving away at the wood-grained folk inflections of his 2011 debut Dreams to reveal shimmering experimental electronica. At this point, all Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) comparisons are bunk. But, while Tank’s flair for production has improved, his writing has diminished: these seven songs are almost soundscapes rather than songs, their technical perfection sometimes keeping the listener at arm’s length. At his best – demonstrated on the vertiginous soul of ‘You Never Know’ or synth-washed ‘Home’ – Tank has no equal. And collaborators such as vocalist Hayden Calnin and Perth producer Ta-ku are first class. Yet moments feel suffocated by their sonic layering, impressing without ever becoming enjoyable. There’s no doubt Tank has arrived, but Slow Motion Music leaves you wishing he’d get his elbows out a bit more. MATT SHEA

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