Painted Wreath by DX

Sean Bailey’s LAKES are not an easy time. They are not a fun time. For these reasons, they are one of the best examples of Melbourne post-punk: winter music, isolation music, serious music.

From inception, they were the anomaly of the lineup at any Melbourne show by virtue of being serious. There’s nothing essentially good about being serious, a quality that in the wrong hands yields self-important, overwrought drudgery, but fortunately in Sean Bailey’s case it meant that LAKES were presented without compromise or hesitation, and they demanded more of the audience than most bands would dare.

LAKES eschewed the ironic distance or narcissistic frippery of most post-punk and took an anti-fascist, peace-punk aesthetic to a neo-folk historically dominated by totalitarian fetishists.

This compilation of LAKES in its most realised and mature incarnation (2012-2017) reveals Bailey’s song writing at its finest. This catalogue of songs has clear antecedents in the apocalyptic folk and martial industrial of Current 93 and Strength Through Joy, but also the anarcho-punk of Crass and The Mob, two sounds reconciled within LAKES, and rarely elsewhere.

Sean Bailey took all of this very seriously, and worked in isolation crafting a brilliant discography of songs crafted out of private dreams and nightmares and home recorded in private rituals, or together with collaborators in live performances that bordered on the ceremonial in their intensity and lack of entertaining rippery.

Painted Wreath is a heavy trip.

LAKES Painted Wreath out now on AR53 Records.

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