Album of the Week: Cyanide Thornton’s debut self-titled LP is a transcendent experience

It almost seems unbelievable that the self-titled LP is Cyanide Thornton’s first release. The Melbourne three-piece formed in 2016 and quickly gathered a local following in the alternative rock circuits of the city. The much-anticipated self-titled album will drop on Friday and is a collection of seven unique and musically advanced tracks.

The album is like a gooey caramel candy; sticky, sweet and it develops more and more flavour as you chew for forty or so minutes. And when it is gone, it leaves a lingering taste in your mouth making you crave another listen.

“Weight” was previously released as a single and welcome listeneners with open arms. It starts off with a two minute long intro, in which the guitar’s long echoing notes seamlessly melt into the steady rhythm provided by the drum and bass section. The melancholic intro peaks in an electric crescendo as Sienna Thornton’s voice takes over. “I put too much weight onto you”, she sings. Her vocals range from carefully whispered, like an important secret, to hissing and shouting.

Proving mastery at alternating between noisy psychedelic parts, and verses with rather minimalistic use of instruments, the outfit makes “Rotten-Tooth” a dynamic seven-minute highlight. Within seconds it moves from nostalgic indie track to angry rock single. And if Thornton is not howling the heartfelt lyrics, she lets her reverb-laden guitar take over, crying its slow and refined melodies. She plays the guitar just like she sings (or the other way around?) and creates moody and thoughtful solos that speak to the listener just as much as her vocals of a tragic accident do, on “Heavy & Wide”.

Thornton’s deep and emotionally loaded voice also launches “The Violin Song”, which turns into a sweeping ballad of ringing violins and blue piano tunes. She uses her voice like an instrument, experimenting with its capacities and exploring new dimensions to a point, where her artistic intonation of lyrics turns it into an abstract concept. It is more about creating sounds than singing and we almost cannot understand the stretched, whispered and moaned words. This kind of experimental work reminds one of Patti Smith’s poetry-slam like style on “Poppies” or “Chicklets”. At times, Thornton is merely exhaling the vocals. At others, she aggressively spits the lyrics into the microphone, just like Smith did decades before. Ellah Blake and David Pesavento provide the irreplaceable backbone of each of the seven tracks, and shine on drum and bass.

Cyanide Thornton’s debut is a transcendent experience that drew me in from the first note. The instruments appear to converse with each other in a pure and unhurried manner. Even on tracks as long as eight minutes, not a single second feels dull. The lyrics of painfully human experiences, like loss and love, tenderly embrace the instrumentation. Elements of folk, rock and indie music melt together and move away from any genre-defining boundaries or musical norms into a different space.

The musicians pay attention to every note; each thought through to the utmost degree. The trio’s love for experimenting shows on minimal yet well-placed tunes, through which they create an art-like setting for their music. It sounds if, by spreading colours with strings, voice and drums on empty canvases, they created a beautiful abstract “sound painting”. And just like paint on a shirt this album will leave a permanent mark on you.

Cyanide is the perfect soundtrack to dive into magical day-dreamy worlds where time, work and stress simply fade away. A place where it truly feels like “everything is forgotten about gravity”.


Melbourne’s Cyanide Thornton will release their debut record Cyanide Thornton through Bedroom Suck Records on Friday 9th November. To find out more about the band head to their Facebook Page.