Words by Erin Eddy
Australian heavy music royalty The Butterfly Effect have released the aptly titled IV and I feel extremely privileged to be in the position to review it.
Just in case you’re new to The Butterfly Effect (a perplexing concept to me, but one I’ve found is legitimate!) these guys were the darlings of the Aussie heavy scene in the early 2000’s, touring relentlessly around the country and receiving heavy airplay on Triple J. They amassed a legion of fans known as the “Effected” before the wheels fell off and the wagon screeched to a halt in 2012 when singer Clint Boge called it quits. The band recruited a new singer for a minute, but let’s not beat around the bush, The Butterfly Effect was not The Butterfly Effect sans Boge, so in my insignificant opinion, that period doesn’t even count.
At the time of Boge’s departure, the band had released an EP and three studio albums and had begun demoing songs for a fourth album. Tensions were high and a farewell tour marked the end of an era in June 2012.
In late 2017 The Butterfly Effect announced their reformation with Boge at the helm again, which was met with a frenzy of enthusiasm, as love for the band clearly hadn’t dimmed. They played sold out reunion shows in early 2018 and have since teased us with the release of the odd song here and there, suggesting that their past grievances were history and that The Butterfly Effect were back for more than just a one-time reunion tour.
Thus brings us to today and the release of the 10-track album IV. The press release includes the following words from Boge “I am so happy we got here to this point in time. Some of these songs were written straight after Final Conversation of Kings and would have been on the next album had we stayed together. So for these songs to see the light of day and for us to be able to present them to all who wish to listen is a huge privilege and a moment I won’t forget.”
With those warm and fuzzies on board, I began my descent into this album.
Have you ever experienced one of those moments when the music you’ve put on makes you feel like you’re the main character in a movie and what you’re playing is your soundtrack? It was early morning, and I was driving. It was a grey day, raining mistily, and after a few days of thunderstorms, the energy of the ions in the air and the emotional feel to this track laced with violins, vocal harmonies and melodic lead guitar had me instantly surpassing the position of passive listener. I was connected. Or should I say I was being “effected”?
Dark Light begins with Boge’s distinctive ghostly falsetto vocals, and the lyrics “this house, burned to the ground, I can’t get out, I can’t get away” really tap into that part of me that resonates with angst in music. The Butterfly Effect have this incredible ability to produce songs with an accelerated tempo, yet floating ethereal vocal melodies and something I’ve always loved about this band is how they meld aggression and tranquillity together exquisitely. Dark Light is one of many examples of this throughout this album.
Track three, Wave Of Tides – Long, is perhaps my favourite on the album. As I was driving and absorbing what I was listening to, I realised every couple of minutes I was expelling a “phwoar,” utterly impressed with what I was hearing. Towards the end of the song, the instrumentation fadesoff, and the chant of “ohm” repeats until the full band kicks in to end the track. There I am at the wheel of my car, shaking my head and laughing, thinking “I’m only three tracks deep and I’m obsessed with this.”
Nil By Mouth is the next song, previously released as a single in February of this year. A song that
showcases Boge’s more aggressive vocal style and with lyrics such as “I don’t care about the new sensation, pornographic exploitation, for the YouTube generation, viral God, you’re all so superficial”
there’s a definite social commentary vibe here.
A classic guitar feedback intro with driving drumbeat commences The Other Side. This one feels like a more anthemic singalong number, laden with crashing symbols and dirty distortion. For long-time
Butterfly Effect fans, this one will hold a familiarity to it that will feel like seeing an old friend for the first time in years. While it sounds a lot like songs they have already written before, it doesn’t feel like recycling old material.
Songs six and seven, So Tired and Unbroken, are two that fans should be acquainted with by now, as
they were released as singles in November 2021 and April 2020 respectively.
So Tired is a powerful blend of thrashy verses with lilting choruses steering into an ambient bridge and then Boge’s soaring vocals carry the song to its conclusion which creates seriously bold dynamics within this song.
Unbroken has a super catchy singalong chorus and I can see this one creating big moments when performed live.
Great Heights is led by pulsing drums and minimalistic guitars and feedback, until the chorus approaches and a beautifully melodic riff compliments what the vocals are doing before Boge does his Boge thing and belts out “you fell from a great height, tomorrow before the world began.”
Actually, now seems like the ideal time to mention that one of the things I love about Boge as a vocalist is how easy it is to understand his lyrics. There is an absolutely awesome riffy interlude in this song that’s worth a mention, too.
Clint Boge posted a heartfelt video to social media this week speaking about the impending release of this album and what it means to him, and cited Start Again, the second last track, as one of his favourites. I would have to say it’s one of the standout tracks for me, too. There’s so much melody going on between the vocals and the guitars with rolling, atmospheric drums, this is another song with an anthemic feel to it.
Visiting Hours (another single, released July this year) rounds out the album to its conclusion in the most beautiful, emotive way showcasing melodically haunting guitars and a swaying beat. This song strikes me as the one that could possibly be the most heartfelt or personal, lyrically. It has that feel of being sombre with hints of hopeful optimism, and it’s hard not to become lost in Boge’s soulful and raw vocal delivery. To me it serves as a wonderful bookend the record when compared to the feel of the opening track. As I was getting carried along by the sensations of Visiting Hours, IV ends rather abruptly with the lyrics “and if we survive,” and there I was, staring ahead at a wet road, as the sound of my windscreen wipers sweeping rhythmically back and forth bought me back to reality. It’s been a long time since I’ve encountered an album where I don’t seek to skip any tracks. I am acutely aware that as a fan of The Butterfly Effect, this is probably a horribly biased review, however I promise I am not one to turn a blind eye if a band is off their game but in all honestly, I couldn’t fault this record. The track order has been well thought out, and each song flows into the next perfectly.
In the afore mentioned social media video posted by Clint, he stated that the band is “back together and better than ever” and that he couldn’t have asked for a better reformation. He explained with sincerity that this album means a lot to him, and that reconciliation was the focal point of the band getting back together. Bands are like families, there can be unyielding love but also tensions and chaos and dysfunctionality. The fact that The Butterfly Effect have reunited and overcome the difficulties that led them to lie dormant for all those years, and subsequently produced such a brilliant piece of work is both a testament to their musicianship and their integrity as individuals.
The upcoming tour for this album is going to be huge.