Review: Suburban Cracked Collective – Swimming Amongst the Dregs (A Colourful Storm, Sep 2)

There is something so deeply mysterious about Suburban Cracked Collective (the solo project of musician Shaun Leacy), and I’m really can’t put my finger on specifically what it is. It could be the curious mixture of convention and abstraction that forms the very heart of his dense, enigmatic music; maybe it’s the inexplicably wistful, saddening artwork on the covers of many of his releases; I’m not sure. What I do know is that Swimming Amongst the Dregs features Leacy’s most beautiful cover art and music yet, and has kept me coming back nearly every day since it’s release under the false guise of revealing some of its secrets. I have a thing for lush mixtures of room cacophony and gorgeous atmospheric electronica (for my favorite example, check out this field recording I captured several years ago) and thankfully such a pairing is also of immense interest to Leacy, who seamlessly interweaves clattering performances with unknown objects, machines, and god knows what else with undulating currents of sublime synthesizer patchworks whose satisfying harmonic resolutions more than make up for the tension introduced by such unusual counter-elements. I honestly have no idea how these homey yet always slightly industrial cornucopias of subdued metallic cacophony were generated; sometimes they sound like someone just making dinner, others they resemble something more like some sort of homemade Rube Goldberg contraption, and on “It’s All Gone Sideways” an earthy, rhythmic quality is adopted, structuring the LP’s final moments as a hypnotic, languid lumber into silence as the track slowly fades out. When attempting to describe what’s happening on Swimming Amongst the Dregs, I feel as though my foundation is much shakier than usual, even more so than when I’m writing about something completely abstract and detached; I hope I did so well enough to motivate you to check it out. In this case, “something special” is an egregious understatement.