Optic Nerve Angel Numbers LP

Impressive debut LP from this Sydney band that mixes elements of post-punk, deathrock, and classic country instrumentation into a great punk record. Songs like “Bird Bath,” “Gargoyle,” and “Bead Shop” pulse with energetic bass, stabbing guitars, and vocalist Gigi De Lacy’s poetically cut-up (and cavernously reverbed) lyrics. The record would be a worthy listen if it stopped there, but the band crosses into cowpunk-inspired lands with twangy, bent-note guitar lines and rolling, snare-led drum beats reminiscent of the GUN CLUB and ICEAGE that give the songs a rollicking “tight but loose” sound. “Tonic” surprises with acoustic strumming and blues riffs like country-fried deathrock. “Trap Door” adds heavy-distortion alt/rock vibes for an even thicker sound. Imagine Factory Records existing in the American South, and you get the idea. Always engaging with unexpected influences and diversions from genre expectations, OPTIC NERVE is a band to watch.