A page for reviews of FourPlay, interviews with FourPlay, articles/blog posts about FourPlay… And juicy quotes. As up-to-date as we can keep it.
Needless to say the opinions expressed here are those of at most the original authors, and not of the band. If you wrote or published any of these reviews and wish to have the copy available here taken down, please contact us and we’ll do so immediately (and same for any changes, if you are definitely the author). If you want a link removed, then sorry — if something’s available on the web, it’s there to be linked to!
Last updated: Monday, Jan 24th, 2011 – Interviews.
Reviews (CDs/Live) | Interviews/Articles/Mentions | Quotes
Reviewed in dBMagazine by Patrick Lang
FourPlay String Quartet are just as clever as the double-entendre suggested in their very title – their arrangements of often completely inappropriate songs for a classical quartet are always lyrical, coy and bordering on brilliant.
Read the rest over here.
Reviewed at Mess+Noise by Adam D Mills
While on paper it’s an exercise that can easily come across as too quirky for its own good(…), such is the innate talent FourPlay have for recontextualising others’ material into their own idiom without stripping it of its original flavour. As a result, they deftly avoid (yet again) the tag of novelty act. Heavy, swooning and discordant, ‘Killing in the Name’ is but one highlight on an album that’s chock full of them.
(…)Nestled among these interpretations is a selection of new FourPlay originals, all of which evidence the group’s increasing confidence and ability as songwriters. From the dark, stormy ‘Everything Was Going Fine…’ to the playful ‘A Grain of Truth’ and the more experimental ‘Where the Sun Don’t Shine’, there’s as much of a range to FourPlay’s own compositions as there is to their choice of covers. Since their inception, FourPlay have proven to be the place where high- and low-brow arts collide, and Fourthcoming is the most spectacular result of such a collision yet.
Read the full review here.
Reviewed at Alternative Media Group by Chris Peken
Review available here. “And talk about putting your best foot forward, the opening track Everything Was Going Fine is undoubtedly the instrumental of the year to date, and the best track to come from Fourplay’s own strings. Both epic and melodic, the ‘chorus’ riff sits with you and stands shoulder to shoulder with its other better known riff siblings on the album.”
Reviewed by Danielle Golding for Scene Magazine
No longer available online. “FourPlay’s take on these greats will leave you with the same spine chills that the originals first made.”
Reviewed at The Dwarf
Review available here. “Each piece is beautifully performed by the members and is most definitely good enough to stand up well against (if not outshine) the novelty value of the set’s covers.”
Now To The Future
Reviewed at The Silent Ballet
Review available here
Now To The Future
Reviewed in Capital Magazine, Nov/Dec 2006 issue (categorised under “ECLECTIC”)
Originally formed as a classical string quartet in 1995 by friends from the Australian Youth Orchestra, Sydney-based group FourPlay tossed away any semblance of stiff classical respectability some time ago. Taking their cue from daring ensembles like the Kronos and Brodsky Quartets — with a healthy dose of rebel violinist Nigel Kennedy thrown in for fun — FSQ derive pleasure from heading in decidedly non-classical directions. This latest album continues to mix the quartet’s own original tunes amongst their imaginative cover versions. Standout tracks include Charles Mingus’ classic Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat, Radiohead’s 2+2=5, a gorgeous take on Miles Davis’ All Blues and an intense version of The Strokes’ Reptilia. It’s impossible not to be impressed by this formidable foursome’s technical proficiency, versatility and playful attitude. Not for the classically faint-hearted, Now To The Future aims for more open ears, and deserves to find them.
Now To The Future
Reviewed by LiveJournal user Jilder, 31.08.06
As part of the post here, Jilder writes:
Sweet Jebus I’m in love with FourPlay. I bought their new album between shifts yesterday, and I can only say that it’s as eclectic and and gorgeous as their preceeding albums. Lara Goodridge sings like an angel, when she puts that violin down, and she’s currently singing like one who’s had a glass too much of bathtub gin. Something about crying a river over me. It also opens with 2+2=5. And the rain in the background, just audible under the base and cello, makes me very happy. Even if I do have to go to work in twenty minutes.
(oh, and they have listed as their:
Current Music: FourPlay: I Don’t Know The Title Yet But It’s Very Sexy
Reviewed in Rip It Up (Adelaide street press), 08.06
FourPlay String Quartet is an eclectic, electric combination of four classically trained musicians that hail from Sydney. However, don’t be fooled by the name, these instrumentalists warp the conventions of typical classical music, the result being a truly unique musical experience. With the completion of their third studio album Now To The Future, listeners have become privy to covers by artists including The Beastie Boys, The Velvet Underground, Jeff Buckley and even Metallica. Using two violas, as opposed to a typical string quartet that uses one, the result is a heavier, deeper and somewhat crunchier sound. The instruments blend fantastically with the cello and conribute to the jazz sound achieved so persuasively in many of the tracks. Now To The Future [contains] five covers, including the Strokes’ ‘Reptilia’ and ‘All Blues’ by Miles Davis, and opens with a cover of Radioihead’s ‘2+2=5’, an amazing interpretation that, even with the absence of vocals, still manages to capture the intensity and appeal of the original. The haunting laments of Arthur Hamilton’s ‘Cry Me A River’ showcase the vocal talent of sole violinist Lara Goodridge, whose voice is gladly received in other tracks, including ‘Evolve or Decay’ and ‘Trust’. ‘Downtown Nudnik’ can be seen as a blend of tango, swing jazz and klezmer and is one of the highlight tracks on the album, due to standout cellist Peter Hollo. The sheer diversity of this band is phenomenal. Distortion pedals, pickups and amps are cleverly used throughout the album, thus manifesting influences such as rock, jazz, contemporary, folk and electronica. However, by fusing such conflicting genres, FourPlay may leave orthodox classical fans converted or taken too far out of their comfort zones. Warning: over-listening by the indifferent may induce mild psychosis. Regardless, a wonderful album.
— Brooke Beswick
Reviewed in Sydney City Hub, 08.06
There never has, nor ever will be, a pigeon hole quite the right size to fit Sydney electric string quartet FourPlay. Taking an age-old musical formation, the classical string quartet, they transplant it into a new millennium. Their choices of covers have always been inspired (who could forget their version of Metallica’s Enter Sandman) and they maintain that standard here. Miles Davis’s All Blues is all nuance and restraint, while Radiohead’s 2+2=5 is a perfect hand-in-glove fit, confirming what all Radiohead fans know, that the band has orchestral roots that go far deeper than those of the pop world. More surprisingly, and more effective for it, is their version of The Strokes’ Reptilia, where the strings bring a new menace to a great riff, and a melody is revealed in all its full glory. Of the vocal tracks, Lara Goodridge’s Trust is an enchanting example of youthful sorry and age old dilemmas. Excuse the pun and swim in the sensuality of the strings. ★★★☆
— Chris Peken
Reviewed at TheDwarf.com.au, 24.07.06
You can read this review at the original site (but you’ll probably have to select your location, and then kinda go back and reload the review link…) or here:
I had never heard of FourPlay String Quartet before I heard this CD . but now that I have I am thoroughly addicted. What incredible music! I sat down to listen and I didn.t move until the album was over. Described as “Australia’s world renowned rock string quartet” I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t what I heard. This band is impossible to place in a specific genre . although it may seem like an astute marketing ploy to include the word ‘rock’ . these folk obviously just love music, of any kind. Listening to ‘Now To The Future’ is a crash course in contemporary music inclusive of any darn genre you can think of. Their music is intelligent, interesting, textured and complex while remaining accessible and damn enjoyable.
FourPlay have recorded three studio albums, and have also released a remix album and a series of three 3″ CD singles: released independently (on FourPlay’s own label Smart Pussy Records). A comprehensive Australian tour to launch the album will be announced shortly. I urge you to check this band out . they are fucking amazing! The band started life as a classical string quartet, originally made up of friends from the Australian Youth Orchestra. Inspired by the Kronos, Balanescu and Brodsky Quartets’ blurring of the boundaries between classical and rock music, they began playing rock covers for friends. These days the band is comprised of Lara Goodridge (violin & vocals), Tim Hollo (viola & vocals), Shenton Gregory aka Shenzo Gregorio (viola and vocals) and Peter Hollo (cello & vocals) playing as an electric string quartet.
The cover art of ‘Now To The Future’ is quirky and I found the aesthetic really appealing. The packaging is printed on 100% recycled paper and all greenhouse emissions form recording and production have been offset by www.climatefriendly.com. Good looking and responsible too. Their website: www.fourplay.com.au has a great function that allows the viewer to change the aesthetic/layout which I really liked too. There is a great sense of freedom is being asked to change something to suit yourself and that seems indicative of their relationship with music.
FourPlay approach songs written by other people in a refreshingly original way: they make them their own. Previously they have played songs by: The Clouds, Siné O’Connor, Pop Will Eat Itself, The Velvet Underground, Metallica, the Beastie Boys and Jeff Buckley. ‘Now To The Future’ includes innovative versions of 2+2=5 (Radiohead), Reptilia (Julian Casablancas/The Strokes), songs by jazz greats Miles Davis (All Blues) and Charles Mingus (Goodbye Pork Pie Hat) and a lovely version of Cry Me A River (Arthur Hamilton). The songs remain the songwriters’ but the arrangement demonstrates a plastic understand of music and a confidence I admire. It’s a pleasure to see a familiar song in a totally new light.
The original songs are fascinating . the vocals of Lara Goodridge remind me a little of The Cocteau Twins vocalist Elizabeth Fraser. Her voice is soft but powerful: quiet but assertive. Her phrasing is interesting, very individual. The songs are down right impossible to describe. They are innovative and demonstrate a wonderful love of music of all kinds. There is something here for music lovers of all kinds and then a little more to keep you on your toes and curious. The quality of the recording is warm and intimate with a sense of space that transports you to another place. It was produced and mixed by Magoo (Regurgitator, Midnight Oil, TISM) and engineered by Justin Tresidder (george, Resin Dogs, Josh Abrahams), a viola player himself. Like FourPlay.s music the recording is a lethal combination of the innovative and new and a chamber musicians love of intimate strings and string texture in sound.
I highly recommend this album to anyone who loves music. I found it genuinely inspiring to listen to. At moments it.s like The Dirty Three, then The Cocteau Twins, then like Peter Sculthorpe soundscapes, then gypsy jazz: then like nothing you’ve ever heard before . unless you’re a fan of FourPlay String Quartet . which I now am. Bloody great album!!! Check this band out right now . it may change your understanding of music that you like and inspire you to check out stuff you never thought you’d enjoy. Music of all kinds is great: from chamber music to jazz, world music to rock and pop. It’s healthy to listen to all kinds of musical voices and appreciate them all. FourPlay do and it makes them strong and interesting! How cool.
— Jennifer Land
Reviewed at FasterLouder.com.au, 21.07.06
You can read this review at the original site; here’s a copy:
FourPlay’s latest album Now To The Future is glorious. Possibly Australia’s only indie rock band string quartet, they fly in the face of the often-held belief that classical music and rock can never sit side by side. Two violas, a violin and a cello, sometimes combined with the hypnotic vocals of Lara Goodridge, merge to create a sumptuous sonic feast.
Inspired by outfits such as the Kronos and Brodsky quartets, and with parallels to the skilled thrust of Phillip Glass’ music, FourPlay present original material as well as a selection of anarchic covers. The use of two violas bulks out the sound while still allowing the execution of three and four-note chords, giving the band a rich vigour outside the scope of many other string ensembles.
Having previously covered work by Jeff Buckley, Depeche Mode and the Beastie Boys, the album opens with a striking interpretation of Radiohead.s ‘2+2=5’. Other covers include Miles Davis’ ‘All Blues’, with its syrupy strains that soar with movement and feeling, and The Strokes’ ‘Reptilia’, a wild and propulsive track with a loaded sound that belies the all-acoustic instrumentation. The Arthur Hamilton jazz classic ‘Cry Me A River’ is buttressed by the honeyed romanticism of Goodridge’s vocals.
The original material on Now To The Future is equally as impressive. On ‘Trust’ Goodridge’s sweet but seductive vocal stylings are juxtaposed with animated staccato compositions that surge and abate with carefully exercised control. The beautiful partnership between Goodridge’s voice and the dramatic string constructions is also exemplified on ‘Evolve or Decay’. ‘The Hunter’ is simply haunting . with ghostly legato harmonies artfully draped over a bed of foreboding siren-like instrumentation. The epic ‘Bollyrock’ possesses a distinctive Indian flavour with string work that is moody and percussive, at times even cacophonous. Indeed, these original tracks span many genres, from rock, jazz and blues to gypsy and klezmer.
Ultimately FourPlay offer a tantalising fusion of rock sensibilities with the finely cultivated skill of classically trained musicians. They are abundantly creative and true collaborators, having traded their talents with bands such as George, The Whitlams, Gerling and the Screaming Jets. Their fourth offering is a wonderful achievement.
Reviewed in Rave Magazine (Brisbane street press), 11.07.06
Who knows what might pop up when these four play
Not to be confused with the veteran American jazz outfit (which probably explains why they added the String Quartet part to their name). Sydney’s FourPlay have spent a decade or more blurring the boundaries between the normal notion of a string quartet and a broader audience. They’ve done this by electrifying their instruments and applying their classical training to rock and contemporary music generally to create a surprising crossover sound. This latest album, their third, is no exception. Among a brace of original pieces are reworked jazz masters like Miles Davis’s All Blues. Okay, you may see some logic to that link. But Radiohead’s 2+2=5 or The Strokes’ Reptilia? In these cabable hands, it makes sense. And singing with a string quartet? Violinist Lara Goodridge not only cruises her way through Julie London’s 1957 classic Cry Me A River, she adds a folk touch to self-penned works like Trust. Not to be outdone, other tracks here take you on diverse journeys, from Downtown Nudnik’s Stephan Grappelli jazz jaunt with Eastern European and tango elements to the metal and Indian flavours of Bollyrock. Sure, it all reads like it’s weird but it actually sounds fine. Quite an accomplishment, really.
Reviewed in The Electric Newspaper, 07.08.06
You can read this review at the original site; here’s a copy:
It’s hard not to treat FourPlay as anything other than a novelty act; as much as they deserve to be taken seriously, for many their output will always be about interesting covers than it is their original work.
But they don’t shy away from this reality; instead, they choose to embrace it. Without doubt it’s the wise thing to do, as their interpretations of the likes of Radiohead, the Strokes, and Miles Davis are absolutely awesome, with the string quartet taking the songs in different directions to the original compositions.
However, the most interesting ‘cover’ on Now to the Future is not one of the instrumentals, but instead their version of jazz standard “Cry Me a River”, on which member Lara Goodridge takes a singing role to great effect. Her vocals feature on several of the originals as well, such as “Evolve or Decay” and “Trust”.
Original compositions like these and the great fun see-sawing buzz of “Bollyrock” are just as interesting as the interpretations of others material throughout Now to the Future, if not as immediately gratifying. FourPlay are an odd assembly, as they don’t really fit into any convenient mould, but there’s no doubt that they’ve got their own thing going on.
— Andrew Weaver
Reviewed in Drum Media (Sydney street press), 04.07.06
For everyone out there who always thought there was an undeniably orchestral quality to the music of Radiohead, the proof is right here in the opening track, 2+2=5, off the third album by Sydney’s own internationally renowned electric string quartet. I’ll be you weren’t expecting the same to be said of The Strokes but again, their feisty rendition of their Reptilia says it all.
As to fans of FourPlay, don’t assume that you’ve got them pegged either. The quartet has always been eclectic, opting for a broader musical diversity than their contemporary classical quartets, Kronos or Balanescu, which initially inspired them. But with Now To The Future, FourPlay finally place themselves as much in the centre of their work, as composers, as interpreters of the work of the pop, rock or metal bands with whom they’ve previously toyed.
So you get the European sensibilities and romance of Peter Hollo’s Downtown Nudnik segueing into the bounce and frivolity of pure Grapelli, set against the limpid sadness and beauty of Lara Goodridge’s trio of vocal love songs, Evolve or Decay, Trust and The Hunter, contrasting the ebullience and energy of the collective collaborations You’ve Changed Your Tune, Appalachian Jam (which isn’t) and the gloriously exotic Bollyrock.
But then you get the bebop jazz influence of “new” boy Shenton Gregory courtesy of some wonderful reworking of Miles Davis’ All Blues and Mingus’ Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, a promise of an even more improvisational future. Forget anything you ever thought about string quartets. This is the future.
— Michael Smith
Reviewed in Daily Telegraph, 29.06.06
Amped-up Sydney-based fellowship of the string go on a quest to find themselves a future, and succeed. There are five diverse covers here along with eight originals. Radiohead.s 2+2=5 and a rockin’ version of The Strokes’ Reptilia slide right in alongside the soul-jazz power surge of Evolve or Decay by violinist/singer Lara Goodridge and the eastern European old-guy-in-the-doorway schtick of Downtown Nudnik. You’ve Changed Your Tune contains jazz, folk, classical and more within its many moods.
— Simon Ferguson
The 3″ trilogy (FourPlay String Quartet parts 1-3)
Reviewed in Drum Media (Sydney street press), 27.06.06
One happy day the novely of rock songs done by string ensembles will wear off and we’ll be free of things like FourPlay’s note-for-note cover of the Strokes’ Reptilia. It’s particularly frustrating since their own material (like the European-flavoured Downtown Nudnik and the percussive, atonal Everything Was Going Fine) is so much more impressive. They also eschew their instrumental roots with violinist Lara Goodridge stepping up to the mic on Trust (also remixed here by Clue To Kalo) and the jazzy Can’t Trust This. In any case, these three mini-CDs make an unbelievably cute package.
— Andrew P Street
Reptilia (FourPlay 3″ single part 1)
Reviewed in The Brag (Sydney street press), 05.06.06
FourPlay are like the maiden aunt that still smokes pot and has “young male friends”. (Say what? – Ed) The kind of paradoxical juxtaposition (is that a tautology?) that makes you think whatever it is you’re thinking twice over. They have made a career out of exploring the potential that rock and pop melodies have as the basis for arrangements within what is generally understood as a classical construct. The danger of course is that one could end up alienating both spectrums of your audience. Fortunately FourPlay have a fair degree of chutzpah and more than a little anger. Certainly enough to give their arrangements the kind of biting kick that makes the rock histrionics translate into a kind of “Rite of Spring” for a generation with an attention barely long enough to wait for a psp2 game to load. Cool.
The Basement, Sydney 01.08.09
Reviewed in Sydney street press Drum Media, 11 Aug 2009
The review, by Liz Giuffre, is not available online. Excerpt:
Their version of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name”, complete with awesome little high pitched rock outro was matched by the masterful and simply gorgeous delivery of Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat”, as viola player Tim Hollo downed tools to take the mic, and the Billie Holiday cover, “Lover Man”, led by the ever lovely violin player/vocalist Lara Goodridge.
(…) In particular it was a couple of tracks inspired by the last of the Howard years – “Where The Sun Don’t Shine”, an instrumental ode to Howard’s disinterest in climate change and all things environmentally responsible, plus “Rudd-A-Dub Dub”, an awesome piece of live dub that showed the band’s diversity.
The Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane 25.07.09
Stephen Goodwin from LifEMusicMedia reviewed our Brisbane launch of Fourthcoming here. Pull-quote would have to be: “…but nothing comes near to matching the in-your-face ferocity of their rendition of Rage Against the Machine’s Killing In The Name. As the song soars, weeps and screams, it’s nigh impossible to tell who’s playing what part, but you couldn’t imagine Tom Morello and Zack de la Rocha listening with anything other than unfeigned delight. If they’d been there.” Read the whole review, from which you can also view a nifty gallery of FourPlay live on stage!
Canberra Street Theatre – live recording of Fourthcoming
Shelley from ACT blog Loaded Dog reviewed the third of our live recordings for our forthcoming album Fourthcoming here. She concludes, “What an incredible experience and what an incredibly talented band. Do not miss them. Oh, and check out their new album.” Check out her review for a good account of what went on at these sessions, as well as a few pics.
Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, 14.09.07
Adelyn Yeo revierwed the gig for The Program, describing it as “A tantalising tease of the senses. A build-up of emotions to a climax of excitement…”. Read the whole thing here.
There was also a brief review from Stephen Whittington in The Advertiser, who mentioned the Kronos and Turtle Island Quartets, going on to say “FourPlay is an Australian ensemble… that is rewriting the rule book further with a repertoire that spans jazz, country, electronica and much more.” Full review here.
Parramatta Riverside Theatre, 19.05.07
Blogs & stuff
Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane, 10.03.06
It’s not often that you get reviewed by an Ancient Greek political thinker, but Demosthenes has deigned to write a review on FasterLouder.com.au :) As you’d expect, it’s very well-written and researched; we are honoured.
Read it at FasterLouder. Excerpt:
It’s been written that when you see the FourPlay String Quartet you should forget anything you ever thought about string quartets. Tonight’s performance at the Judith Wright Centre is further proof that this Sydney-based foursome’s electrified sounds bears as much relation to the soothing tones of a classical quartet as a sabre-tooth tiger does to a domestic cat.
Blogs, LiveJournals etc
Lovely MySpace blog post here, from one of many string players who came along to the gig :)
East Brunswick Club, Melbourne, 10.02.06
Blogs, LiveJournals etc
FourPlay Three Ways, Sydney Opera House Studio, 8.02.06 & 9.02.06
Blogs, LiveJournals etc
Mentioned by Noah, who went on his last night in Sydney before returning to Canada! And an Austrian blogging from Australia has a review here.
Mentioned on the Chaser’s forums, would you believe, discussing “Things that are great”, of course. Meanwhile, Dianne .
Yasminke, Yiddish teacher to the stars, loved Friday’s shows.
The lovely Scarydan wrote about the first gig (and enjoyed the other two too…)
Falls Festival, Lorne, 30.12.06
Not The Herald Sun (blog)
Daniel Kahn has a review of the Falls Festival on his blog and has this to say about our set:
FourPlay are a rock band. But they’re a rock band that is a classically trained string quartet who play modern rock covers arranged into their format, as well as original tunes. They kicked off their set with “2 + 2 = 5” by Radiohead followed by “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. The opening shout of “Oh my God, that’s the funky shit” was executed by the eloquent lilt of violinist and vocalist Lara Goodridge. It brought a massive grin to my face when four people holding classical instruments were shouting “Listen all of y’all it’s a sabotage” into their microphones while making a cacophony through effects pedals. The rest of the songs included brilliant and occasionally quirky originals and an old blues tune, and they finished with two other covers. Jeff Buckey’s “Grace” sounded as if it was being performed in its original and purest form . high praise indeed for a cover. It was simply sublime. They finished off the set performing “Reptillia” by The Strokes, which pleased the crowd to no end thanks to the Triple J attention the track received. FourPlay is definitely something special, and worth looking into if you get the chance.
Falls Festival, Lorne, 30.12.06
Andy Hazel‘s MySpace blog
Andy Hazel has a review of the Falls Festival up, and wrote this about us:
Distinctive stringwork also came from Fourplay, who amped the crowd in a way it’s doubtful any other group wielding just violins, a cello and a viola could. Genreless and with a great line in melody and dynamics, Fourplay succeeded in being both familiar and original with their take on Jeff Buckley’s Grace, wringing even more emotion out of it’s themes with each glissando and pizzicato stab. But it was their own pieces that really impressed, and their recent “environmentally neutral” CD kept them in line with the overall reduce-reuse-recycle vibe that the Falls love to push.
(Hazel then goes on pull Wolfmother as the “parallel opposite of FourPlay”, with a lacklustre set. Take that!)
Live at the Fly By Night, Fremantle, Perth, 27.10.06
Drum Media Perth
It’s almost unfathomable how talented this group of accomplished musicians are, as each member is a jack-of-all-trades and master of many. Their credentials are perhaps incomparable, and as such there was no support band. They did however play for over an hour and a half, divided into two long sets so there was no lack of quantity nor quality. They attracted a small but dedicated crowd of followers whose attention was grabbed from the very first song, a divine version of Radiohead’s 2+2=5.
Not limited to the traditional confines of their instruments, FourPlay augment their sound with electric pickups, effects pedals and an infectious energy that makes them more like a rock band than just a string quartet. The percussive element to their show was beyond words. Their track Bollyrock appealed to my Punjabi roots as Tim Hollo sat cross-legged on stage, mimicking the beats of a tabla by holding his viola vertically and tapping its fingerboard and belly. The ability of an instrument to so vividly impersonate another was astounding. Peter Hollo’s handslaps and strums of the cello strings also created beats throughout the performance.
Their tracks revealed their interest in a vast range of styles. Downtown Nudnik added a French bistro flair to the Fly By’s already cabaret style seating, then morphed into a frenzy of notes reminiscent of Disney’s Jungle Book. Shenton Gregory strummed his viola like a banjo for a rendition of Drunken Hearted Man Blues, a Mississippi delta song circa 1930s, whilst Cry Me A River and Charles Mingus’ Goodbye Pork Pie Hat showed off their jazz inclinations.
Amongst my favourites was an arrangement of Grace, tapping on their pickups and sliding up and down their fingerboards to recreate the magic of Jeff Buckley, and Depeche Mode’s Sweetest Perfection saw violas creating a fast electronic-like background playing an impressive six bows per beat. However it was their cover of the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage that got the previously pensive crowd cheering, as Shenton played an electric viola riff that would make Axl Rose cry. It was during this track that Peter’s percussive tapping sadly caused a crack in his cello! Though that didn’t hold them back… The show culminated in The Strokes’ tune Reptilia, and finally the crowd demanded an encore for their signature cover of Metallica’s Enter Sandman where they broke into dark echoing effects.
Their intensity and warmth was mesmerising. Horsehairs snapped off bows under pressure and these fine threads danced above the violas. It was fascinating that whilst playing they were comfortable and confident yet putting down their instruments to talk to the crowd they suddenly appeared softly spoken and almost awkward, as though incomplete when not connected to their strings. FourPlay are certainly a spectacle not to be missed.
— Saschveen Singh
Live at @Newtown, 15.09.06
Drum Media, 19.09.06
A FourPlay audience is a good one on which to test quirky support acts, which tonight started off with the amazing Human Theremin. For all those who aren’t up with their mid-20th century sci-fi movies, a Theremin is the instrument used to make all those spooky alien noises (and the unearthly riff in Good Vibrations). So it was a novely to see this weird instrument in action — but it wasn’t exactly pleasant on the ear.
Second up was mime artist Lolita Red who had the audience in stiches with her cutesy sound effects and brilliant enactment of your typical house party shenanigans. The variety show was certainly a refreshing change from a hit-or-miss band leading up to the main gig.
FourPlay brought their electric violin (Lara Goodridge), two violas (Tim Hollo, Shenton Gregory) and cello (Peter Hollo) on stage about 11pm and got straight into their abrasive, percussive set. Tim was sawing so hard into his viola I even thought I saw his skein snap in the first song. Yes, these guys are true rock stars. They turn their traditionally classical instruments into all-purpose music boxes. I never knew a cello could also be used as a bongo drum, a bass, a guitar and a snare, or that the violin and viola could sound like a harmonica, a human voice, tweeting birds or a computer-generated keyboard.
The first half consisted mostly of songs from FourPlay’s new album Now To The Future, which is dominated by new originals rather than the covers for which they are arguably more famous. Their originals cross genres from tango, to swing, jazz, klezmer, blues, Indian music, rock, metal and pop. Of their new ones I particularly liked the two love ballads written by Goodridge — Evolve or Decay and Trust — for their hint of 70s melodic wistfulness. Goodridge also sang perhaps the best cover of Cry Me a River that I’ve ever heard, her blissfully smooth voice on par with any of the jazz greats. Tonight we were also privileged to hear string-rock renditions of Reptilia by the Strokes, Sabotage by the Beastie Boys, Metallica’s Enter Sandman and Jeff Buckley’s Grace — all of which made us forget we were listening to strings and nearly had people dancing.
— Jodie McLeod
Various LiveJournals and blogs
Short reviews of the gig from hysteria74 and satyrica, who went together.
Meanwhile, Jon Blum wrote a huge and enthusiastic review of both the gig and Now To The Future. Trust a writer to be so articulate! ;)
Live (album launch) for the Darwin Festival, at the Star Shell, Darwin, 23.08.06
ABC Darwin website
Louise De Dassel was sent off by ABC Darwin to see the gig, and loved it – read the story here, or here:
We sent Louise De Dassel off to this cheekily named electric string quartet.
Louise was mightily impressed, saying it was amazing and she.d “never heard anything quite like it, very, very entertaining”.
“At one point in time … I felt like if I closed my eyes that violin would have sounded like an electric guitar,” she says.
FourPlay perform blues, rock, heavy metal and a lot of other styles of music.
A couple of the pieces Louise told breakfast presenter Julia Christensen about were Bollyrock featuring the sounds of India and a cover of Metallica’s Enter Sandman.
Louise said she just felt like getting up and throwing her head around.
She says the place was packed and the audience really got involved, clapping before some of the numbers had even finished, and giving FourPlay a standing ovation at the end.
The performance was a one-off for the festival but you never know they might be back!
ABC Darwin guestbook
Janice from Wulagi reviewed the gig in the guestbook. Her review can be found here, and reads:
FOURPLAY — the most unique musical sound I’ve heard since the Flying Pickets produced acapella versions of Heard it through the Grapevine and other rock classics. And the group seemed like great people, too, checking backstage after their second standing ovation to see if it would be o.k. to do another couple of songs. Haunting themes, unique use of instruments as percussion, sitar, etc… plus a great sense of humour (for example, when an enthusiastic member of the audience kept yelling out “CREDENCE!!!!”). I hope they come back to next year’s Festival and that the organisers add at least one more performance to the program, and, if you missed FourPlay THIS time, don’t miss it in 2007!
Live (album launch take 2) at the Troubadour, Brisbane, 19.08.06 & 20.08.06
Kate went to both nights and reviewed them in her LiveJournal (scroll past first few paragraphs).
Live (album launch) at the Spiegeltent, Brisbane, 24.07.06
Various blogs/LiveJournals etc
Jess, a cellist, wrote an enthusiastic review here.
Live (album launch) at the Metro, Sydney, 08.07.06
Various blogs/LiveJournals etc
Live (album launch) at the Corner Hotel, Melbourne, 07.07.06
Live (album launch) at the Fly By Night, Fremantle, Perth, 01.07.06
Not a FourPlay interview, but in Hobart, in conjunction with the second performance of our collaboration with Neil Gaiman, Ryan aka The Geek of Oz managed to catch Neil for a long (and awesome) interview in which some rather lovely things were spake regarding yr humble string quartet. Read it here.
Peter was quizzed by Mess+Noise about his Australianness, and seemed to pass the test:
Sydney or Melbourne? Been a Sydney feller most of my life, but I’ve always loved Melbourne. My impression is that Melbourne’s a lot more touchy about the “versus” factor. I could easily live in either city.
Full answers here
We answered some important questions from Time Out Sydney:
Xbox 360 vs Wii vs PS3: who wins? We’re not gamers, but really how can you go past the Wii interface? The FourPlay Rock Band edition is just around the corner, complete with the Wii-olin accessory (Kidding! Sorry kidz)
Full answers here
Kat Keefe from inthemix interviewed Peter for Feb 2007’s Opera House Studio gigs. The resultant article covers some interesting ground not usually found in FourPlay interviews.
Dan Rule interviewed Tim for the Sydney Morning Herald Metro in an article published on Thursday the 20th of December 2007. They talked about our forthcoming performances – our own and those with Brian Wilson – for the Sydney Festival.
FourPlay make great Xmas presents apparently, and the shop went great guns for the holiday period.
Hwesta of Troy, in Texas USA, was most enamoured of our first album.
Meanwhile, brilliant Aussie sf author Sean Williams named Now To The Future in his end-of-year wrapping up post on his LiveJournal, and Tomás Ford thought that our showcase gig in Adelaide back near the start of the year was a real highlight (even though he’s not into string quartets), while mintcar86 put Not To The Future in a best-of-2006 list..
The blog Quiet Paws has an interesting interview with Peter up, originally published at The Dwarf.
The Age has an article called All strung out on heavy rock by Michael Dwyer, which has a strange subbing error that claims we have “two violas and two violins (a string quartet is usually one and three)” (even though the cello is mentioned later on), but it’s an awesome article all the same. They also featured FourPlay in their A2 arts supplement the day after, as a recommended gig in their 48 hours – the critical guide section. Here’s an extract, written by Darren Levin:
Sydney’s FourPlay isn’t your garden-variety string quartet. The musicians play their instruments through distortion pedals and amplifiers, their repertoire features covers of the Beastie Boys, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead and the Strokes, and they use two violas as opposed to the stock-standard two violins (for the “thicker, deeper sound”, apparently). The group, however, is no novelty act, as more than a decade worth of acclaimed live performances and three studio albums prove.
The lovely Iain Shedden interviewed the whole band for the Australian, and you can read the article (from the 3rd of July) here.
Here’s an article/interview with Tim for Sydney Morning Herald.
A rather interesting interview with Peter is available over at Australian Music Online.
Peter was interviewed for X-Press in Perth by Natalie Schmeiss, and it’s available here.
“If you haven’t heard of FourPlay, you don’t deserve to exist” – from the Sydney Diary blog. *heh*
Here’s an interview with Lara at The Electric Newspaper
There’s an enthusiastic mention of finding Now To The Future on alex’s blog here
There are parallels with the taut propulsion of Philip Glass’s music and with the ultra modern and sometimes quixotic Kronos Quartet. They spit in the eye of classical romanticism, chain-sawing into these songs and then throwing them together in new shapes. — Rolling Stone
More Metallica than Mozart. The first string quartet to have inspired moshing and crowd surfing. — Sydney Morning Herald
They are like cinema for the ears. — SBS Television
Seeing FourPlay live is as strange as it is sublime. It’s about going to see a band with a too clever name and too clever album titles that play classical string instruments that don’t even sound like classical string instruments half the time and being totally enraptured, totally seduced. — Rave Magazine
They were astonishing. There was stuff towards the end where I closed my eyes and suddenly there would be drummers and mad electric guitarists and synthesisers and suddenly you’re watching Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin and then you open your eyes and it’s a string quartet. — Neil Gaiman (interviewed here)