Matt O'Neill

Spotlight (Brisbane) – 46: Re: Enactment

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On first listen, Re: Enactment are the kind of act some would consider a waste of potential: a messy, inarticulate blitzkrieg of effortlessly cool punk rock and unfailingly anxious electronica. It’s like watching four square pegs fighting desperately to fit into one round hole.

The hint is in the mix. Re: Enactment’s cacophonous live onslaught is not the sound of a band but four contained sounds vying for attention. Jim Grundy’s swollen, distorted bass and Shane Rudken’s textured synthesisers both struggle violently to break free from their perceived roles as background instruments while Sam Mitchell’s drumming and Jacob Hicks’ ragged howl and slashing guitar dart valiantly through the crossfire, striving for survival. Hicks is quite an exceptional songwriter, too, as the memorable minimalism of recent acoustic B-side ‘Train Surfing’ proves.

The band’s main problem is, despite lurking around Brisbane in various incarnations for nearly five years, they’ve never proven their worth on record. The quartet’s two EPs (Regicide and Kittens ­– both released in 2008) are respectable efforts but too blandly mixed to really capture the volatile charisma of songs like ‘Thems Burnt Puppies’ or ‘Steel Drums’. It’s a cliché but it’s also a painful reality for Re: Enactment fans – the band have never captured their live sound on record.

One can only hope their forthcoming double A-side ‘Problematic’/‘Nintendogs’ – produced by respectable local gent Stephen Bartlett (Mr Maps, Skinny Jean), mixed by Burke Reid (The Drones, Pivot) and due out in September – will finally confirm the band’s position as one of Brisbane’s best bands.

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