An encouraging but spotty sophomore album
Melbourne-based punk band Cable Ties pose a talent that most musical acts do not: the ability to distill a deeply set rage and frustration with the status quo into art that feels driven by a creative vision with poignant specificity. In the case of Cable Ties and their new album Far Enough, the product of this distillation process is punk. Much of the tracks are good by punk standards, but over the course of this sophomore album, the group reveals a tendency to overstay their welcome, opting for unneeded repetition and aimlessness over tight songwriting that could otherwise beautifully emphasize the importance of their message.
Opening on “Hope,” the track has some gorgeous guitar build-up and amazing vocal performances, but issues quickly start to appear around the three-minute mark. The second half of the song lacks the same diversity that the first half exemplified. The vocal range feels as if it’s becoming more and more limited as the song progresses, while the intense production grows old concurrently. There are some rewarding moments in the second half, but nothing to justify the runtime. “Tell Them Where To Go” shows the band can be a bit more focused while delivering heavy guitar and pounding drums to match the vocal severity. By “Sandcastles,” the self-assured and anthemic single, the band’s affinity for repetition and dwelling on the same musical idea for just a bit too long is clear, and not at its worst yet.
“Lani” is that moment. This indulgent cut of over seven minutes does much to contribute to the lack of momentum on this project. It’s tough to keep things moving along in an eight-track album when track five is a seven-minute bore. “Not My Story,” the following track isn’t nearly as rough but also does little to leave a strong impression beyond the interesting lyrical approach to bad relationships. It feels like exhibit Z of Cable Ties delivering on content within their music, but not quite delivering a hard-hitting enough take elsewhere in the composition to stick with the listener.
Take track five as an example of what the group is capable of, “Self-Made Man.” There’s plenty of content in these incisive lyrics. Clocking in at about three minutes and 43 seconds, the band is able to lend ample time to their complex subject matter of male hypocrisy while still remaining focused and concise. It’s a very entertaining song that gets that point across quickly and without any fat. The two tracks that close the album are not this. “Anger’s Not Enough” is one of the most frustrating cuts in terms of length relative to the action, and the closer, “Pillow,” isn’t much better. To make matters worse, both of these songs have a lyrical density that would’ve been much more important when backed by more diverse production.
While this album is far from perfect, this is the type of less-perfect-album that should provoke hope and excitement in fans. This project has the aforementioned and ever-elusive “vision,” the execution just left something to be desired. To put it a different way, Far Enough proves that Cable Ties can conjure certain subject matter in a way that holds one’s attention, and apply it well to their unique punk context. Simply put, the core issues with this album might’ve been solved by a bit more discretion in terms of cutting the songs down. It’s an exciting time for Cable Ties; Far Enough is evidence that they’re just a few steps removed from making a really special album.