Naked – “Pink Quartz”

pink quartzAfter years of fucking around on Bandcamp, Hobart, Australia-based trio Naked (somehow) get their act together for 14 songs to make up their first LP Pink Quartz (via Tenth Court). The band’s early material merely comprised of their directionless DIY escapades with half-baked avant-garde skits and an abbreviated covers EP of Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs. A brief glance at the track listing hints at the bizarre themes that make up the record. Much of Pink Quartz‘s themes blur along the lines of relatable and the surreal.

The crudely titled opener “Massive Cock” starts out as a proto-industrial pop songs with woozy drum machine. The surreal lyrics strangely presents itself as poetic, with Sullivan flaunting his large member but wanting to slice it off to either feed it to dogs or carve it into the shape of an orchid. The juxtaposing verses suggest that there is beauty and chaos in everything.

The GBV-esque “Sprinters Of The World Unite” is a series of events that took place right after the death of a pet dog. From hurling a brick at bus to a punch out at a Domino’s pizza and eventually landing in jail that serves nothing but pizza. The track recalls the wave of lo-fi music that was plentiful during the early 90’s. Frontman Kieran Sullivan’s vocals resemble the authoritativeness of a “Dookie”-era Billy Joe Armstrong and the sardonicism of Robert Pollard.

While much of the lyrics tend to run of the side of absurd, there are songs which address more relatable subjects. The despondent “Blepharitis” is a self-examination on life thus far, wallowing in the low points and self-deprecation, while the jarring “Think About Death” relates to the impending and fears of not living life to its fullest. With new wave grooves, “Kit Home” deals with developer land grabs and characters of neighborhoods being ruined by their affluent disposition.

Going through the stages of a hypothetical relationship with a hypothetical girlfriend, “This Charming Man” (not a Smiths cover) probably relates to most people on at the deepest depths of their subconscious during an actual relationship. The track breaks away from the crude punk sound that makes up the majority of the record to sort of an art rock feel, like early Velvet Underground or Yo La Tengo. The 80’s college-rock closer, “Paul Walker’s Overture” fittingly caps off the strange record the same way it started, weird. Initially an ode to the late Paul Walker, Sullivan goes off on a tangent that touches on mullets, gentrification, and love songs, until the band “sabotages” the track with a caustic ending.

At times during Pink Quartz, you never know whether to laugh or feel revolted by the crass humor. Lyrically and musically, the band personifies the insincerity and cynicism of slacker-rock, packaged in urgent proto-punk or experimental meanderings.

A labyrinth of weirdness, Pink Quartz is filled with the unexpected, and for that, it’s a pretty imaginative listen.

Cereal Pairing: Sir Grapefellow