It’s heartening to see that young people in Australia (and indeed in other parts of the world) do not have to listen to pure, commercial, hyped-up music. No longer do they have to look long and hard for anything marginally different from the mainstream. What’s even better is that this new music for the refined and sophisticated youth is bloody good. There was a time when we were all scratching around for something (anything) that was Aussie and would not make us cringe. Radio DJs kept the same couple of Australian songs on the playlist and alternated them as often as they could in order to trick listeners into thinking there was a huge repertoire of contemporary Aussie rock out there to fulfil radio content requirements. Times certainly have changed.

The Forum played host to two of these new wave bands that are both creating a stir everywhere. All things considered, their rise has been meteoric. Strange Talk is a band from Melbourne that has been together for a relatively tiny amount of time. Their EP has fielded two singles called ‘Climbing Walls’ and ‘Eskimo Boy’. The tunes are danceable and already popular on the club scene despite only being released a couple of months ago. The good thing about playing to an audience of youngsters is that they really go out to have a good time no matter what they might encounter, and as such, Strange Talk were warmly received. The punters were happily preening and well into their ritual pre-mating dances way before Art Vs Science appeared.

After a short DJ set that produced an inordinate amount of enthusiasm, Art Vs. Science took the stage, (and they were on time). Punctuality says a few things about bands: firstly that they are not prima donnas, secondly that they are professional, prepared and have a good crew, and lastly that they respect their fans. They had planned an hour and a half set of music, taken mostly from their LP The Experiment. Miraculous sounds emanate from the synthesizers, guitars and drums, and Art Vs Science make the complexity of playing electro-pop dance music seem almost effortless. Many bands find it difficult to replicate electronic sounds live without pre recording at least some of the material. If it’s at all possible, this band can make electronica sound better live than anything put down on tape.  The name of the group puts art and science in direct competition with the other, but Art Vs Science the band, has actually made the two, seemingly polar strands complementary. The sounds are robotic and electronic but artful in their composition. The light show is awesome, and shows how a little science can be creative and can add sensory emphasis.

There were several musical highlights of the night. ‘Higher’ got the punters singing, while ‘Magic Fountain’ created a state of controlled frenzy (if that’s at all possible?) It was a very generous set with almost all the songs from the LP included as well as an extended version of ‘Parlez Vous Francais?’, which looks to be the band’s anthem at this point. There were many happy fans leaving the Forum that night who were still singing and dancing their way to the exits; high on the happy vibe that the gig had created.

–       Sharon Brookes