At Random Reviews and Press
Here are some reviews of At Randoms work:
AR007 / Red CD
A band coming out of Queensland who couldn’t have more aptly named their band if they’d tried. Basically brother team Jon & Andrew Muecke, having been around as a band for 7 years or so, with a sampling of guests throughout, At Random have constructed a wonderful selection of songs for us to listen to. The name of the band is quite descriptive of their music, with an incredibly diverse range of styles sitting within the 14 songs featured here.
There’s some truly excellent sampling here, as evidenced by opening number “Aliens”, which is sort of indicative of the rest of the album, but much better is to come later on. One of the big highlights here is a track called “It’s True”, which features the sublime voice of Susannah Tosh, who also guests on the aforementioned opening track & “Bursting Bubbles”. Closing track “Zebadubadah” is pretty interesting also, but it’s a song called “That Reminds Me”, which is apparently an older song from a Europe/UK only release called Box Seat EP. Fabulous guitar & atmosphere throughout this song makes it something very special. I look forward to hearing some more from this extremely promising band.
Heard On-line Magazine – July 1999
At Random are an enterprising Gold Coast Indy band who have already managed to get airtime on radio and TV in numerous overseas countries (the CD cover reflecting their citizens of the world approach via images of Burleigh Heads, Sydney, the Pacific Islands, Salisbury and the Rhine).
Whilst in raw terms this album (their seventh) has 14 tracks and runs 42 minutes it packs an awful lot in there. There’s a huge variety of sounds and ideas (either in my imagination or in theirs) and it’s taken a lot of time to analyse the album. I expect it’s not the case but it’s as though the band have stumbled upon the soft freak out of hippy trippy 70’s groups and mixed
those sounds in with some slowed down Mark Callaghan (Gangajang) plus Phil Judd (Split Enz) and even some gritty wall of sound and white noise guitar.
“Aliens” and “Man On The Moon” take the first part of the album into attractive soft plaintive songs about space travel complete with sci-fi samples and effects. Then comes “One More Time” a groovy instrumental featuring loping almost Stone Roses (tabla?) drumming, fuzzed guitar wall of sound, heavenly voices and sci-fi sounds – followed by “Wait” which offers
more nice space guitar, tabla drumming, good distorted guitar riffs and vocals which are pretty much Split Enz music hall bounce circa ‘Mental Notes’. “CT” is an interesting number, a groovy little melodic flow featuring nice touches of keyboards and guitar bursting into an uplifting semi Bono style vocal over Edge type guitar licks.
The vocal credits are shared by an excellent female singer with “It’s True” for example offering a soft gentle happy vocal over a melodic lightly bouncing pop tune – the song is good simple Mavis’s type pop and with a bit more emphasis on the chorus could be a hit – whilst “That Reminds Me” delivers haunting songs-without-words qawwali sighs and delightful slow spacey semi Eastern flavours with spaced guitar (controlled feedback and effects).
Just to keep the variety coming “Box Seat” features a distorted and soft sad (later irate) vocal over simple sad beats and white noise wall of sound guitar. The track sounds like Hunters & Collectors without the brass and that wall of sound echoes bits of both The Cure and Joy Division.
Andrew Tucker – Inside Track June 1999
When choosing a name for a music project, many artists simply put a number of preferred options into the proveribial hat and choose one at random. Gold Coast brothers Jonathon and Andrew Muecke liked that process so much they not only named their act At Random but that also seems to be the way they select their musical influences.. not that there’s anything wrong with that!
Since 1991 the Brothers Muecke have created 6 recordings that have been made available to people the world over. That catalog comprises 2 cassette EP’s, one UK/Europe-only CD EP and three albums. This seemingly (to the uninitiated) self-titled 7th release/4th album follows many of the trends established for the other outings, including no real-title (each release numbered sequentially like all Chicago’s records), and a musical mix which ranges from world-influenced to nouveau-pop to straight-ahead radio-friendly tunes.
The random acts of musical expression on “At Random 7” will continue to assure the addition of such tunes as Its True, Wait, Man In The Moon, and One More Time to their already impressive achievements which include airplay in India, Belgium, on Rage, MTV, the Js, the Big Backyard and Channel V as well as in film and video sound tracks. @random: is a fine example of the quiet success achieved by somewhat-underground Australian artists, while “At Random 7” is at least a 4-star venture in itself.
PG (Jacky) Gleeson – July 1999
AR005 / Blue CD
“Rock reveiwer hears stunning indie track on Triple J. So impressed, he sets out to trace the source…a seminal feast of pop, funk, jazz, dance, soul and romance”
Tony Curran – Wentworth Courier 12th February 1997
(Wentworth Courier – Full Review)
“For a band to bypass the whole alternate / rock / pop sound is a game move. At Random have successfuly done this”
Jason McGilvray – Drum Media 12th February 1997
“Through the addition of using saxaphone, keyboards and cello, At Random have the ability to cross through different musical genres, and create unexpected moods, demonstrating that their name is well suited to their music”
Natalie McPhee – Inpress Magazine 12th February 1997
(Inpress Magazine – Full Review)
“…(the tracks) complete with a wide variety of styles from touches of funk to more involved orchestrations, keep your attention and the overall feel is of gentle, expert, involved and intelligent pop…..features high quality production, careful attention to detail, great arrangements and a fair deal of imagination”
Andrew Tucker – Inside Track February 1997
“These blokes know their instruments, great players, same goes for their writing ability, with moves through nice neat acoustic ballads, Spanish style soloing, haunting darkness, funk, even psychedelic rock. At Random marry these styles together very well”
Robert Knapp – Who When Where January 1997
(Who When Where – Full Review)
“They have great talent which shows through in their ability to be flexible with their musical style. There is no single distinctive style to any of their songs which makes this self titled album refreshing and a pleasure to listen to”
Laura Versace – Variety Today Issue 32 1997
“At Random have dished up a thoroughly diverse selection of tunes for this self titled album..the mixture of instruments works perfectly. From ballads to songs, At Random are a breath of fresh air and should be congratulated for not pigeon holing themselves into one particular strand of music”
Michele Sternberg – That’s Entertainment 13th February 1997
(That’s Entertainment – Full Review)
“Not since Sonic Youth or the John Spencer Blues Explosion has a bands name so accurately reflected its own musical DNA…..why not save on blowing your dosh on a 61 CD disk changer sound systems and invest $30 into this instead? It has just as many musical styles”
Tim Brothers – Beat 5th February 1997
AR003 / Multicolour CD
‘A truly unique sounding band’
Time Off 1994
(At Random Press with Kathryn Battaglene)
AR002 / Fan Cassette
“…. At Randoms songs avoid that air of sameness that plauges many bands”
RAVE 10th February 1993
(Original Reviews for AR002 / Fan Cassette)
(At Random Press with Nicole Salisbury)
AR001 / Lighbulb Cassette
“…At Random seem to be able to turn their hand at a variety of styles quite successfully, making it impossible for lazy hacks like myself to pigeonhole them.”
RAVE January 15th 1992
(Original Reviews for AR001 / Lightbulb Cassette)
BBY SXSW 1999
“It would be difficult to choose one or two great songs from this album but AT RANDOM and….., would rate more than a mention”
PG (Jackie) Gleeson – Sounds of the Street Review
“A whole bunch of tunes in the second half of the sampler stand out also, beginning with At Random’s “Wait”, which has a wonderful guitar section”
BBY SXSW 1998
“Some exceptional music also comes along with some psychedelic rock instrumental thanks to At Random, a band I’ve not heard of before but wish to find out about, who offer ‘That Reminds Me’.”
I still have my copy of the cassette EP with the ‘dancing’ lightbulb that Jon gave me way back when we worked together in the early 90s. Hearing the band in action then was always a highlight and listening now still gives me a case of the ‘feels’.
Keep rocking guys!