Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad: Electric Fence ‘Don’t Need A Heart’

Electric Fence

Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad is a column which sees a panel of writers for The Corner review a range of local singles and grade them out of 10. Check out the song below, read through their opinions and let us know in the comments section your own thoughts and what you’d like to see reviewed next time around.


[Grade: 7.7]

Sean Quay: Great. Raw, fresh and fuzzed up. This reminds me of one of my favorite albums – Crude’s debut Inner City Guitar Perspectives  – but with a heavier rockier undertone. There’s also a kind of Outsider vibe going on. And the screaming / feedback-y distortion blasts are awesome. Made by a 10-year-old and his brother-in-law. Wonder how long before he’s burnt out on drugs? [8]

Eden Bradfield: Stomping electric dinosaur music with Francis E Dec on synth. Smatterings of Tool, would you believe, but in a healthy dose (if you put too much pepper on your pasta the pepper goes up your nose and you feel like it’s been invaded by tiny metal spacemen). Refreshing when everything else coming through my inbox is so overblown. [8]

Hayden Currie: The more distorted and effects-laden vocals, the whispering, and the screaming all work, but at some points the singing comes like a bad Yoko Ono moment. Too bad because a lot of their other tracks are great, and the kid’s voice works well in them. I like what they’re doing, it’s just that some of the singing in this one pulls me out of the vibe. [7]

Luke Jacobs: I found ‘Don’t Need A Heart’ really polarising. I enjoyed the buzzing synth, à la Suicide, and that set a perfect texture for a compelling piece of music. But it never got to me, it never got under my skin and when something is as bruising as this it needs to work hard to get into my psyche. Not because I don’t like music in this vein, or the themes it explores, but I find it hard to situate in my life and my head.

I loved the beginning of this track. It was energetic and it had the potential to pull me in, but I think where it lost me was when the vocals came in. Not their style but more the presentation. There are moments where they are encased in this icy cold echo and it would have been really neat if that was a little louder and the vocals fought a bit with that effect. I also thought that when the chugging guitar burns its way into the song near the end it overpowers the synth completely, which was the part of the song that I liked the best.

I listened to the rest of the album as well as the live recording and the impression I felt from listening to this was evident in the rest of the material Electric Fence have. It interests me, but it never really entices me. It engaged effectively with me but never really excited me. Still, as this band develops they have the ability to hit on some really amazing music and I look forward to it. [6]

Joe Nunweek: First thoughts on now 10-year old Louis Amos’s two-person band – a bit underwritten, that torpor though. Pretty amazing how the first part of this stands up as a sort of Tiny Toon Adventures to Xpressway’s Looney Tunes – all thin pained moaning at the periphery and dire guitar. Conversely this potentially suggests that people who listen to noise/experimental music and say “This just sounds like it was made by fucking kids” are on to something. It really kills it in the second half, finding its groove with some sludge riffing and speaker-shredding screams.

There’s probably a strain of music crit that abhors relativism and is just like “a thin song is a thin song, let’s hold this up to the same scrutiny as John Coltrane” but I’m personally pretty glad that a kid is enjoying himself mucking around with amps and a microphone, and that the results don’t sound like they just dropped off the end of a conveyor belt. [8]

Miriama Aoake: Initially I felt obligatory sensitivity because wee Louis has reached one of his first milestones in life by crackin’ the double digits. But this kid needs no handicap. He must be a noise prophet of sorts. I’m overwhelmed by the talent exuding from the diminutive youngster and with such a fervently musical background he will be one to watch. Step the fuck aside Suri Cruise. [7]

Andrew B. White: What can you say? This is a 10-year-old kid and his older brother-in-law making music together. It’s cool. It’s fun. This could be on the next Swans album. Electric Fence are probably more successful at noise rock than a lot of ‘serious’ older artists could ever hope to bee. It’ll be on Pitchfork before you know it and we’ll have new NZ indie darling who isn’t even in his teens yet.

One other great thing about this is that while ukulele’s are currently poisoning the minds of New Zealand’s school children, Electric Fence have avoided becoming a product of the cookie-cutter ‘Play It Strange sound’. [10]


  1. matthew says:

    this is way too good. on some bruce russell shit. the singing is great imo

  2. Luke Jacobs says:

    Shows how much research I did. Didn’t even know it was a 10 year old. What I wrote then kind of seems a bit odd. Ah well thats the way the cookie crumbles.

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