greenhouse have been together a while – first playing together in the late eighties but never quite getting around to releasing an LP despite some singles and EPs on the way. ‘Centre Of The Universe’ is their debut and it is fitting that the opening track is entitled ‘Here I Am’ – a fitting declaration for a very fine debut indeed.
Jangling guitars provide a crystalline introduction in ‘Here I Am’, over a thumping rhythm section and the sardonic vocals with layers of delicious harmonies gilding the edges. There is a detectable nod to The Charlatans, a dash of Brit Pop in all its melodic finery, a steely framework coated with delicate melodies.
‘Slow Girl’ with its cascading guitars that tumble from the speakers has a touch of melancholy and yearning from the vocals of Michael Ormond Robinson and a sky-scraping chorus with scything guitars. ‘Overflow’ coasts on an ambulant rolling bass – a little more restrained and dreamy until the cinematic anthemic chorus takes hold. Robinson’s vocals have a theatrical tenor about them – reminding me a little of ABC’s Martin Fry.
‘Building to Crumble’ allows haunting synths to provide a bedrock over which the song is framed – an other dramatic and blistering performance by Robinson – crooning and bellowing in turn. A mix of feedback and jangling acoustic guitars invite us into another torch song – ‘Straight And True’ has the sweep and endless horizons that would befit a James Bond theme song, bold and dramatic.
‘Home Again’ rumbles with a funky bass and jungle beat redolent of Simple Minds – vast stadium anthem material that is more massive than the Himalayas and just as majestic. ‘Staring Down The Sun’ continues with the thumping drum beat providing the foundations for another anthemic song filled with melody.
Single ‘Finally Over’ is full throttle, swaggering indie jingle-jangle rock, brim full of attitude and bluster – something that has been perfectly captured in the video, directed by Robinson, where the band puts on a positively enigmatic über cool performance. Guitars chime like bells in the belfry, drums pound like the surf off Bells Beach and the band exudes a rock and roll insouciance, legs akimbo, sneers all around and a piratical panache that’s utterly compelling.
Indeed, all the rock and roll tropes are there on the screen and that is what makes the video so cathartic and enjoyable. Anthemic choruses, glittering guitars, thumping drums, black outfits and a thousand yard stare with a hint of a sneer: it’s all you need and crave from music:
‘God-Like’ gently presses on the breaks – a slow burning fuse that sparks into something driving and cinematic.
The album ends explosively with ‘Rising Star (for Glen Pairama Galloway)’ – a moving dedication to their original drummer who died from COVID – a track that has a deep melancholy and elegiac presence encapsulating love and loss. In this track, I detect a sense of Jarvis Cocker and Pulp in the enigmatic delivery and widescreen stance. It builds up to a ear-shattering crescendo – a fitting farewell to a massive album.
‘Centre of the Universe’ is a brilliant and compelling collection of shimmering anthems – imbued with a profound pop sensibility, worthy of filling stadiums yet intimate and delicate at the same time. It is pure pop, graced with an indie sensibility – massive in scale with a cinematic wide-screen sonic delivery and moving in parts. The constituent ingredients could be sourced from Pulp, Simple Minds, The Sound Track of Our Lives, from the jingle jangle of Brit Pop to the antipodean sounds of Flying Nun and Brisbane bands. and yet the sound is uniquely greenhouse. This is a triumphant and exciting album that has developed like a fine wine through its long gestation.
The album is out today and available through all the usual download and streaming sites and through the link below see here for all details. Don’t forget, if you want to purchase through the link below (and isn’t that the best way?), hold off until after 5pm AEST when Bandcamp waives its fees and all the proceeds go directly to the artist.
greenhouse are playing a listening party on 1 September in Melbourne – details here.
greenhouse are playing at the legendary Shiiine On Festival in the UK later this year and are launching ‘Centre Of The Universe’ with special guests at :
- Djillong_Geelong Eureka Hotel 9 September with BLACKCHORDS
- Naam_Melbourne Cactus Room 15 September with BLACKCHORDS and Olympic White
- Touring nationally with Happy Mondays beginning in Meeanjin_Brisbane on 19 October taking
in capital cities in NSW, VIC, SA and winding up in Fremantle on the 25 October
Performing as greenhouse: Johnny Helmer, guitars. Michael Ormond Robinson, vocals, guitar, and keys. Dean Linguey, bass guitar.
Additional guitars on Rising Star by Glenn Bennie. Bass guitar on Rising Star by Lisa Gibbs.
All drums by Nik Hughes except Staring Down the Sun, drums by Richard Andrew.
Synths on Here I Am and Staring Down the Sun by Matthew Sigley.
Backing vocals on Here I Am, Slow, Girl, Overflow, and Building to Crumble, Paul Greene.
Backing vocals on Rising Star, by Lisa Gibbs.
Violas on Building to Crumble by Tamil Rogeon.