HTRK‘s Work (Work, Work) album I think also now can be called and included as one of my Classic Album after yesterday’s post about Ex Tropical by Lost Animal. Yet another one of my most played albums, in fact it’s the very top album on my old last.fm page which I don’t really use anymore but it tops everything by a couple hundred plays. Work was released a little over five years ago now in early September 2011. At the time of the release it was considered the album of the year by the Aussie now totally dead magazine/website Mess+Noise critics and number seven in the readers poll too. Then on the same site in 2014 just before it’s end Fait, Perth musician Elise Higgins was talking about classic albums and Work “is flawless. Heartbreakingly beautiful, completely hypnotic and unsettling. It just gets under your skin.” So that’s about it for trying to find stuff about it, once again it might be too early for something like this but I don’t care I’ve just gotta included here.
I do think a five year gap is pretty good right time between release considering for including here, this is second of three albums I’m going to write about in the next few weeks that was released at the tail end of that year, 2011 that I with now call/tag my Classic Albums. Like I’ve already said it would one of my most listened to album of the last few years, a week wouldn’t go by which I wouldn’t have not listen to it, I’ll hopefully do justice for it here and if haven’t heard it before you might have a listen or if you know it too, you might think it as now as a classic album.
HTRK, you say it like Hate Rock or originally called The Hate Rock Trio and this was the last album with all three founding members, actually it was part way through making this album bass player Sean Stewart passed away. Nigel Yang and Jonnine Standish after a while continuing on as a duo and made the album but it was impossible to just re-place him with just a new bass player. Not recorded in an actual studio but just before his passing most of the songs were in demo form so when he did pass away the two of them just worked from those demos, remixing them, recording over the top of them etc.
Formed in the early 2000’s in Melbourne by the three of them to go against the wave of male white rock groups that became very popular at the time, like here in Australia we had the likes of The Vines, Jet, Wolfmother just to name a few but do I need to go on? Early recording which can now be found on the release called Nostalgia are full of feedback and noise, then meeting Aussie guitar player, singer-songwriter Rowland S. Howard lead to him producing the album Marry Me Tonight. Howard also passing away in 2009 too. This was record over a very, very long time because of these events, listed inside are the years from 2006 to 2010 and nothing more but don’t be dismissing it because of that fact. As a fan waiting for a follow up of Marry Me Tonight it feel like more than just four years it seem more like ten or something. So the recording was done in both Berlin and London before heading home to Australia.
So totally obvious influence is David Lynch and if I was going compare HTRK to anything it would be to him, I wouldn’t be the first to do this as well. The Work album would there Eraserhead movie for the not just for the style and content but because Lynch did take just as long to make the movie as they did for the album. Lynch said after finishing the film and talking about the time as a bit of a joke and saying something like after fives years making just one movie you get into a flow, it becomes your everything and that’s what I would image what it would have been like for HTRK making Work (Work, Work) too.
I got to tell you about the album cover artwork is by surfer/beach landscape photographer Trent Mitchell black & white still of a wave inserted into the four letters of the band’s name. Yet another one of my fave Aussie bands The Drones did almost the same thing two years later with their new album at the time called I See Seaweed but with the album title and a color photo of a wave breaking, you can really tell what it is on the first look and got to be some kind of tribute or homage to this album. With HRTK cover it’s not totally clear on the first look, maybe it’s just lines or could it be hair or something else? Off course it’s a wave as soon as you see Mitchell’s photos. Once again like yesterday’s it’s artwork makes me notices it so much more which is the making a classic album, does it do the same for you?
The tracks just build and build and build on top of each other and it’s so amazing and here’s little about them now. The opening tracks is in German and translates to eighty, seven, four on repeat or something? I don’t even know English that well really but does sound great but it’s from Berlin sex TV ads. Which leads into the rest of the tracks on the album, there is no point in writing all of them each because it’s really got to be taken as a whole album with ten songs together and singer Jonnine Standish‘s best quote I can find talking about it is after a lot of reviews labeled it very dark at the time of release so in a Beat magazine interview she talks about the album title “refers to the divide in our lives between our professional, our personal or romantic and our underground lives.” and then she adds…
“It’s really meant to leak into you, into your mind a little bit. I don’t think it’s a dark album or a scary album at all though…I almost feel like that if you find the music dark, it might be because you’re dark. If you feel that it’s sexy, then I feel the same way about it. It’s really meant to be a dreamlike album full of sex. The dark themes that are there are more themes of intrigue and surrender and submission.”
“It’s meant to be ten scenes in a film, with a vague concept of other rooms within the mind, which all sort of represent different personalities or different temptations we all have as people. Each song is really about giving in to one of those temptations, whether the temptation is contentment, or ageing or becoming passive, giving into taboo, giving in to fantasy, it really is studying the seven sins and trying to invent new ones.
“I think it’s part of the human condition that we interact in three different ways in these three different lives, each with their own desires and taboos, some people more than others, and within this album those three lives are starting to become one and there’s almost some confusion there.”
Which is a great end note to finish on, hey? Please have a listen if never have but I would recommend you gotta have repeated listens to let it slowly sinking in with each, like now after five years it’s beyond every other album and I’ll say this most likely my fave album of all-time now. I can’t see why I will not stop listening to it every few days because it really does just keeps getting better and better.
I’ve see them live a few times now, three festivals and one nightclub too and each totally different but letting them wash over you is just amazing. Which is not bad I think for someone who lives in Perth W.A. and they only play one show here ever so the rest have been on trips over east. Please have a listen if you haven’t before and if you know of the album already listen to it again, a few more hundred times!
Work (Work, Work) track listing and times:
1. Ice Eyes Eis – 2:24
2. Slo Glo -3:56
3. Eat Yr Heart – 3:37
4. Bendin’ – 5:34
5. Skinny – 4:26
6. Synthetik – 4:24
7. Poison – 3:42
8. Work That Body – 3:32
9. Love Triangle – 3:48
10. Body Double – 3:47
My Classic Albums are, so far:
Tales From The Australian Underground – Volume 1 & 2 by Various Artists
Station To Station by David Bowie
Unplugged In New York by Nirvana
Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs by Marty Robbins
Henry’s Dream by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Whatever You Love, You Are by Dirty Three
Work (Work, Work) by HTRK
So, this was the reason I started this blog. The idea is simply to write page/post about one of my fave album each that I consider a classic album. Please leave your comments below about each album because I would love to hear what you think about each album too, cheers!