Ballarat’s A Miner recently unleashed its debut via Heart of the Rat Records, and what can I say? Described as ‘depressive ambient ballads’ with minimal beats, vocal decoder and dark-star synths (think James Blake, Bon Iver and The Stranger Things Theme), this disc has 12 tracks, all around the 4-5 minute mark.
To the uninitiated, the first thing you will notice is that ALL the vocals are auto-tuned. Not to get main man Marc Oswins’ (Mark With the Sea frontman) in tune, but to give that full robotic/electronic feel from go to whoa. This will be off putting to some, no doubt, but needs to be acknowledged as a deliberate part of A Miners sound, not a cover up.
There is a depressing vibe to the album; not suicidal themes, just a moody vibe with minimal excitement levels. Whilst electronic, this is not dance music – unless you want to dance in a slow, dream like state with an occasional increase in tempo that might get the blood flowing a little.
Track four ‘I am Only on This Earth’ is the one that has stuck in my head, and starts with the oh-so happy line of “I am only on this Earth to make you want to die”. Maybe that sums up the album, maybe it doesn’t?
Heart of the Rat Records
Reviewed by Glenn Lynch