It sounds like the ladies (and perhaps the gent, too) of Bushwalking have had a few love troubles since we last heard from them.

If their debut LP of last year, First Time, explored the wonder, joy and carefree confusion of young love, No Enter manifests the anger, bewilderment, loneliness and deeply hollow sting of that early love betrayed. Even the painted eyes that adorn each of the album covers hint at this: the debut’s eye was bright blue, looking up and out – this one’s downcast, a murkier green, sleepless and teary.

The theme of heartbroken angst is established early on and continues relentlessly. Against a backdrop of guitars that emit muffled screams and rev like subterranean engines, enter cries of unrequited love, stubborn arguments, the loneliness of an empty home, talk of giving in.

Melody doesn’t drive these songs so much as the strange, hypnotic rhythms and clashing textures that set the scene – a hostile environment through which the paranoid, angry, despair-ridden lyrics wander, vanish and return, like voices in your head. Even as they swirl and echo, the two-part vocals are distinct and often discordant, more ghostly than angelic. It feels like the higher-register harmony – lingering always a few notes above the main vocal – embodies the irrational self; shrill, wailing, shrieking, sighing, barely contained at the edge of consciousness.

If you’re not in a mood to match the sustained intensity of these tracks, No Enter can overwhelm – but it’s ultimately cathartic. Relief in the form of softly sorrowful acoustic song ‘Always Here’ is reserved for the very end – like the calm that only descends after a hot deluge of angry tears.

4/5 stars


No Enter is out now through Chapter Music.

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