3 is the magic number
The Australian rock scene, due in part to its distance from cultural centres such as London and New York, doesn't seem so slavishly beholden to musical trends and the search for the next big thing. An admirable trait or to some the reason why bands like Wolfmother and Jet keep finding success and also why mullets are still fairly prevalent in the land of kangaroos.
In Greenthief's case there merely seems to be a desire to get together and jam like its 1969 and forget the world much like their countrymen Tame Impala did to critical acclaim on their record "Innerspeaker". "Retribution" isn't as good as that record but it's getting there with some nuggets of real quality amongst the 25 minutes of dude-rock.
The title track is a memorable slice of riff rock built on an ominous bassline and complemented with shards of lead guitar. The pace changing lysergic rock of 'Vultures' and the immense undulating vistas of the eight minute closer 'Mayan Dawn' are undoubted highlights as Greenthief find their feet floating in space.
On the downside some of the material is not particularly distinctive with opener 'Sanity' essaying stadium Muse and nineties Radiohead simultaneously employing both a galloping, jerky guitar riff with a hushed, breathless vocal. 'Salad Days' continues the Muse worship albeit with a walloping riff and frantic arrangement. Often the best way to experience this kind of groove infused rock is on the live stage not on CD (that's certainly the case with Muse) so maybe less import should be put on the mis-steps on "Retribution" especially when no-one buys albums anymore (apparently).
The thrill of the shimmering chords, fuzzed up riffs and syncopated drumming is unfortunately topped off with the whiny vocals of a skinny hipster fella. Like those bands where there's a divisive vocalist - Billy Corgan for the Pumpkins, Perry Farrell at the good ship Jane's Addiction to name but two - the songs here aren't completely ruined and in fact, Julian Schweitzer's larynx becomes less invasive with every spin of "Retribution" especially when he avoids straining his voice and employs a bit of grit instead. The aforementioned alt-legends are doubly worth mentioning when it comes to the music on "Retribution" being as it is a loose, twenty years removed, take on the groovier parts of the alt-rock canon. Greenthief play with scant regard for 'the shock of the new' and it serves them well.