Review Summary: Radio Birdman and the Radios Appear album in particular are generally considered to be the beginnings of the Australian underground punk movement.
Radios Appear was the first full-length album from the Australian band Radio Birdman. The 1978 version of Radios Appear is actually the second release of the album for the international market. Not only does it have a different track order, it also includes a variety of different songs. The original, Australian release of Radios Appear in 1977 included the songs “Monday Morning Gunk” and “Love Kills” as well as Stooges cover “TV Eye” which were not included on the 1978 release. However, the 1978 release includes the songs “What Gives?,” “Non-Stop Girls,” “Aloha Steve and Danno,” and “Hit Them Again” as well as the 13th Floor Elevators cover “You’re Gonna Miss Me” none of which were on the original 1977 version. There was also a re-mastered version in 1995, which included all 15 tracks from both the 1977 version and the 1978 version of the album.
Radio Birdman and this album in particular are generally considered to be the beginnings of the Australian underground punk movement. However, the band was not only influenced by common punk precursors The Stooges and MC5, but also early Blue Oyster Cult and even the surf bands of the 1960s. The album Radios Appear was groundbreaking in its day and has stood the test of time as a classic album decades later, but it is not what many would think of as strictly Punk Rock.
While the album does include classic punk songs like “New Race,” “Do The Pop” and “Anglo Girl Desire” as well as the very punked out version of 13th Floor Elevators song “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” it also incorporates a bit of blues rock into the punk sounds of “Murder City Nights” and “What Gives?” and mixes heavy pop with punk in “Non-Stop Girls.” Although “Descent into the Maelstrom” has a clear punk aggression, it breaks down into a very un-punk, quiet jam in the middle. Radio Birdman also shows their surf influence with the songs “Aloha Steve and Danno” and “Hand of Law.” “Aloha Steve and Danno” is a surf song dedicated to the television show Hawaii Five-O. It even borrows sections of the Hawaii Five-O theme song for the guitar solo. “What Gives” actually combines their punk aggression with surf and gives a clear glimpse into their Blue Oyster Cult influence, which can be heard in the vocal melody and even the lyrics. Further Blue Oyster Cult influence can be heard in the song “Hit Them Again” which is most likely what Blue Oyster Cult might have sounded like if they were a punk band. Probably the least punk track on the album is “Man with Golden Helmet” which sounds more influenced by The Doors than anything else.
Regardless of its influence on the Australian music scene and punk rock music as a whole, Radios Appear is a fun, upbeat album filled with good songs that truly stand the test of time.