Words by Keane Fletcher
For Melbourne alt-rockers Edith Lane, their debut album ‘Eden on the Park’ has been a long time coming. A real long time. Originally intended for three separate albums, the songs on ‘Eden on the Park’ have spent a whopping eight years in development, and while the resulting album is a smorgasbord of different genres – part alt-rock, part singer-songwriter, part shoegaze – there is no mistaking that this is a band in complete control of their own sound.
Composed of members Victor Campano (vocals, guitar), Emily Chen (keys, guitar), Jess Bennett (guitar), Jasper (bass) and Allison Walker (drums), Edith Lane have been a staple of the Melbourne music scene for the better part of a decade, playing as headliners in their own right as well as in support of local bands such as Erin Will be Mad, Tenderbuttons and Moon Cup. In fact, although ‘Eden on the Park’ is their first official album, most of these songs were honed during their live performances, evolving gradually over time, developing complex nuances and larger arrangements. The result is an incredibly well-structured album that never loses its sense of performance, perfectly balancing their bigger guitar-driven bangers with quieter, more ethereal tracks.
If you’re an avid alt-rock fan you might have already caught the two lead singles off the album ‘32&’ and ‘King on Plinths’, both strong dynamic tracks that were the perfect primers for Edith Lane’s brand of existential No-Wave angst. But there are some fantastic deep cuts here too. ‘E.R’ is a particular standout, a heady slow burner that sucks you in with its tidal push-and-pull, 'Fountain of Glory' is Edith Lane at their sparse and intimate best, while the title song ‘Eden on the Park’ is all pulsing guitar and Campano’s spitfire delivery.
What all of these songs have in common (apart from Campano's fantastically expressive vocals) is an almost masterly attention to mood and structure. This is where the benefit of the album’s long gestation really shows itself. Nothing feels rushed or glib. Each song has its place in the overall arc of the album but in a way that feels organic and expansive rather than overly intellectualised, due in no small part to their fantastic sonic landscape and the incredible production by Love Shack Studios owner (and fellow bandmate) Jess Bennett and producer genius Aden Senycia (Munik, Flower Drums). Mark my words, there are no fillers here. And while the subject matter could be seen as typical shoegaze existentialism, there are moments of levity too; indeed there is an undercurrent of optimism threaded throughout the entire album, even when it reaches into its darkest places. As Campano sings on the opening track 'B (I'm Glad We Talked)': ‘I will look for better days if in this life I choose to stay...'
All in all, an incredible debut from a fascinating band. Let's just hope we don't have to wait another 8 years for the next one!
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