Sasquatch of the Garage
Australia’s Deaf Wish could be one of the greatest rock bands that almost never happened. Or almost doesn’t exist. They’re a signal that fades in and out. A phantom event. But whenever they are seen or heard from, word spreads quickly.
The Melbourne band began in 2007 with a spontaneous explosion consisting of a few hasty practices, a fugitive self-titled CD-R release, some shows, and the sudden and permanent departure of their guitarist and singer Sarah Hardiman for England. It they had called it quits then, their 2009 second album Reality and Visions would be the only proof that they ever existed. And that would have been an unconscionable tragedy. Fans of dense, bottom heavy, bastard rock would eventually discover the recording and cry burning tears of impotent rage when they found out that the band behind it was no more. Fortunately, they restaffed and soldiered on, sort of.
There were reports in 2010 that they had dissolved again, but 2010 is also the year that their album fascinatingly unstrung Mercy appeared (or re-appeared), recorded with the prodigal Hardiman, who is still reportedly in the UK. And in 2011 they toured the US and the UK, making new fans wherever they went. Some say that they can be seen outside of Australia, but not in Australia. Whatever the case, from now on they can say they’re broken up, but it will sound increasingly like they’re in denial. They did offer Mess and Noise something of an explanation not long ago.
There would be no cause to put up with this nonsense if Deaf Wish weren’t a band of such rare awesomeness — and if Deaf Wish sightings in a live setting weren’t such notoriously memorable chaos. You see, they are the finest blast of well-structured noise to emerge from Australia since Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Like ECSR, they know how to walk that fine line between drone and groove until your brain starts to shake itself apart. This is especially the case on Reality and Visions.
That album is like a slurry of all the best weird punk from the ’80s and early ’90s blended with furious centrifugal force. It’s got chunks of Make Up in it, and The Urinals, Black Flag, and Sonic Youth and, sure, a little Wipers too. Many of the songs sound like they’re coming through speakers constructed entirely out of scrap metal, but then, it was recorded in a warehouse.
Deaf Wish’s trajectory is as unpredictable as their music. They exist outside of time and space, but also some of them are in Melbourne. Don’t worry about it too much. Just tune into their magnificently decaying frequency and hope it’s not the last that you hear of them.