REVIEW: Fractures @ The Workers Club
Mark Zito’s electronic baby FRACTURES first excited us with ‘Twisted‘, then even more with the luscious ‘Cadence‘. Having been bowled out of the performance game for much of 2013 by a nasty accident that fractured bones (oh yes, life’s irony), Melbourne was treated to a debut show at The Worker’s Club last week. And we showed up good, buying tickets until there were no more.
BIG CREATURE were worth showing up early for, as their distinctive sound and tight live presentation suggest big things ahead. “You are encouraged to get funky”, proclaimed frontman of FRACTURES only support to a sparse but attentive audience. A wall of guttural grooving guitar and off kilter vocals bounced around the half-empty space.
It wasn’t immediately obvious why the creator of deliciously downtempo electro would share a ticket with BIG CREATURES‘ experimental, drum-heavy alt-rock. Once the main man took the stage, with no less than four band members in tow, it became clear the aforementioned were the perfect pre-cursor to FRACTURES big, emotive and frankly ballsy live sound.
After a delayed start due to tech difficulties, to an increasingly fidgety crowd, Mark Zito and friends opened with a plaintive slow-burner that built chillingly to an electric crescendo. Pretty standard for FRACTURES, it turns out. Fleshy, amorphous graphics, molecular transformations and blooming visuals allowed the audience to fall into the dream space created by a polished live performance. Deep bass rivets, a voice that is almost child-like in its tonal honesty and space between sometimes left bare, sometimes busy with melodic guitar licks and dramatic keys – FRACTURES delivers.
Surprisingly, FRACTURES on stage was not a lone man, a standalone producer, mixing swoony beats behind a synth with a loop pedal. It was a fully live sound produced by a band of 5, a line-up which includes Mark’s brother Andy Zito. Plugged in are keys (Andy), two guitars (one played by Zito), bass and drums.
Melbourne may have cooled down outside but a sold-out Workers Club was a sweaty hot mess. Zito in jeans and a tee, pouring sweat, crooned his heart out for an adoring audience (and assured us that it was, by the way, sweat and not tears).
In the introduction for a song written after his grandfather died, the unassuming FRACTURES confessed he doesn’t often write songs about personal experiences. Nonetheless, onstage banter was nothing if not candid. He spoke easily of the long, arduous journey back from the injury that left him in a neck brace. He thanked his mum (NAW) and mentioned more than once how happy he is to be back playing music, fighting (relatively) fit.
FRACTURES‘ live sound is as rewarding as his SoundCloud – allowing more loudness. Distinguished by simple and poignant lyrical hooks, repeated for effect, sung with raw passion, anger, lust and pain. Striking keys that set an ambient tone, before finger-picked guitar pulls you in the other direction. Drums and bass that slip in quietly, as Zito’s voice picks up momentum and feeling. And soon enough, you’re beholden to a sometimes raucous, sometimes reticent, always raw majesty…
Words by Rebecca McCann