Bitumen is a Hobart-born, now Melbourne-based, four-piece group making industrial, electronic, metallic-edged music. Combining guitars with synths, samples, electronic drums and alternatively confrontational and melancholic vocals, the group is known for its expansive sound. Cleareye Shining follows up from 2018's Discipline Reaction (released on Melbourne label Vacant Valley).
Since debuting in 2016, the band has garnered a reputation for intense live performances, leading to invitations to play alongside the likes of Lydia Lunch, Bauhaus kingpin Peter Murphy, iconic UK post-punk group The Chameleons, Drab Majesty, JP Shilo at Melbourne Town Hall, as well as performances at festivals including Dark Mofo, Country Daze, and Brunswick Music Festival.
While performing was off the agenda throughout 2020, the band leaned in to produce a finely-detailed studio album, experimenting more heavily with electronic instrumentation, layered vocals, and house and breakbeat-inspired percussion. Cutting guitars and stabbing bass remain – as does the dynamic intensity of Discipline Reaction – but now fused with new influences to create an album of diverse, direct and intricately-wrought songs.
Most of the songs on the record were in the embryonic stages when the pandemic hit, forcing the band to move away from attempting to capture a live sound and lean into making a cleaner studio album. Crafting nine individual songs, each with its own character and internal logic, Bitumen took a precise and restrained approach, allowing the album room to explore breakbeats, piano, acoustic guitars and more intimate vocal work. Lyrically, Cleareye Shining sees shadowy figures in the throes of loving, lusting, plotting and fantasising. The result is 80s maximalism meets 90s industrial-electro. Robocop meets Basic Instinct. Always intense, always dramatic, and always demanding of your attention.
Release: November 26th, 2021, Heavy Machinery Records
Words: Brain Drain PR