(Self-released, March 2015)
Aver’s super-chilled, sun-kissed classic stoner rock sounds like Acrimony, Pearl Jam and Kyuss enjoying a nice day at the beach, relaxing with a few tinnies and throwing some meaty riffs onto the barbie.
Glib Aussie cliches aside, though, this Sydney crew do it right and they do it well – ‘Nadir’ is packed with blissful tracks that swing from serene to stentorian to spaced-out. It’s half bubbling bong cauldron, half coral reef scuba diving.
This is an album that initially grabs you by the throat with its stoner power, then puts its arm around your shoulders and takes you on a peaceful trip into the dazzling haze. The slow thunder of ‘The Devil’s Medicine’ gets things underway with a bang, and the album gets more and more relaxed as it proceeds.
Some of the later songs to not quite live up to the early promise. ‘Setting Sun’, for example, seems to be building to a glistening crescendo, but simply drifts, unchanging, towards a straightforward finale. A little more ambition could have taken this track skywards. Likewise, the ironically-titled ‘Promised Land’ is something of a bongo-battering acoustic let-down.
But with powerful dynamics and groovy ideas, there are plenty of high points too. The grungy ‘Rising Sun’ is pretty enormous, and the album culminates with the floating psych-fest ‘Waves’ – nine minutes of natural rock featuring some lazily awesome riffs to let yourself drown in.
Throughout, the vocals seem to be at their limit in terms of range and power, but Burdt McGirt delivers an enjoyably ragged balance of melody and rawness behind the mic as he does with his buzz-saw guitar.
Overall, ‘Nadir’ offers an understated interpretation of traditional stoner rock. More variation and boldness might help to transform Aver from stoner dudes to creative pioneers, but for now just settle back and let the warm water tickle your toes. If this is indeed the nadir in the lifetime of Aver, we’re in for an astronomical ride.