HAPPY HATE ME NOTS: The Good That’s Been Done…An Anthology: 2 x CD

There’s that old saying: “Never judge a two-disc anthology of a now-defunct Australian band by its horrifically ugly cover.” I mean, seriously, the art on this thing is positively awful and totally misleading—I’m talking Dayglo porpoises frolicking amid Photoshopped “tripping acid” backgrounds. If I saw this in a record store, I’d be expecting either some sort of sick, dick-numbing Phish worship or a few hours of really bad house/trance music. Instead, shockingly, HHMN manage to dish out a potent and mostly consistent crossbreed of mid-period Stiff Little Fingers and straight ahead power pop that’s really, really catchy. Two discs of this stuff, and while there are certain drawbacks throughout (they have a tendency to slip in a light and strangling pop ballad here and there, like the lilting “Blue Afternoon,” that I could have really done without) it’s generally pretty steady in its kickassedness. On the punk spectrum, this one’s not kicking out much radiation, though I bet they came across as more jagged and mean live. Still, if authentic, mid-to-late ‘80s power pop blows your hair back, this one’ll do it for you; two discs, plenty of liner notes, featuring the majority of their released material, including b-sides and live radio stuff.

 –keith (Feel Presents)