Formed in 1995, the four piece Melbourne band came into prominence in 2000 with the release of their first full length album Wires. Naturally, I was in a different phase then, living in space and floating in my cosmonaut suit for days with nothing but empty black space as my friend. At any rate, I found them at the beginning of 2005 with their second album, Second Storey, and it's been difficult to shake the hold since. It's the virus you want to keep.*
The albums are a quiet, dark form of pop music that remind me, in places, of Radiohead, but without the whiny warble of Thom Yorke and the occasionally pointless repetitive nature of his lyrics.** Unlike Radiohead, however, Art of Fighting move between two vocalists, Ollie Browne and Peggy Frew, with the first picking up the majority of the vocal duties in the band. There are a couple of times on Second Storey when Browne himself sounds a bit too much like Yorke, but my only complaint with the band is that I would like to hear Frew's sweet voice used a little more--the highlight from Wires is, without doubt, the love lost song, 'I Don't Keep a Record' which she sings. (It is, however, a close call. You could pick any number of songs, and I'm currently listening to 'Reasons Are All I Have' which Browne sings, and is a fine and catchy thing.)
At any rate, Art of Fighting are touring at the moment. They'll be in Sydney in the beginning of March, and they're playing at the Metro for twenty bucks, which is nothing but goodness, and I'm going, despite the fact that I dislike the Metro as a venue. Besides which, I fail to see what else you need twenty bucks for these days.
If you've not heard the band, they've five songs for download from their site. The songs come from the albums Wires and Second Storey, and you should go there and download if you've not heard them.
* Before the 2000 release of Wires, the band released two EPs, A Very Strange Year and Empty Nights, and though I've not heard the second, the first is, naturally, the rough promise of what they would become later.
** I thought it worked really well on Kid A, but the albums after that feel like pale imitations, with the attempt of some political content thrown in.