VARIOUS ARTISTS: Tales from the Australian Underground, Vol. 2: 1977-1990: 2 x CD

It is my understanding that volume one of this series spanned the 1976-1989 period. From this i infer that this volume has the best song they could find from 1990, plus the stuff they had lying around from 1977-1989 that wasn’t good enough to make it into Volume 1. Huh. It starts strongly enough, with the original, four-minute-plus version of Radio Birdman’s “New Race,” the Saints’ “Know Your Product,” some blatant theft of the Vibrators’ “Baby Baby” by some teenagers who had their manager play the instruments on their records, and “More Suicides Please” by the Thought Criminals, whom i was previously unfamiliar with. Things go rapidly south after that (no small feat for the only continent other than Antarctica that’s completely south of the Equator), descending into completely irredeemable Missing Persons-isms at the beginning of the eighties, and muddling into similarly nowhere college rock doldrums thereafter. Nothing of value emerges in the last nine-tenths of this collection by any band you’ve never heard of, and the contributions by those you have (Lime Spiders, Hoodoo Gurus, Feedtime, Happy Hate Me Nots) are nowhere near enough to stop the product as a whole from circling the drain (CLOCKWISE, s’il vous plait). One supposes this might be a handy item to have around if you’re doing your Master’s Thesis on Australian popular music of the eighties, it’s due tomorrow, and you can’t find Volume 1 anywhere; in all other cases, i suspect the opposite is true. BEST SONG: Radio Birdman, “New Race” BEST SONG TITLE: The Thought Criminals, “More Suicides Please” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: If you would like to experience great frustration, grab a handful of Australian currency and try organizing the bills into a nice, tidy stack.

 –norb (Feel Presents)