Australiaís latest efforts in the pop-rock genre have yielded less than admirable bands, with the thankfully forgotten Jet giving up there position to the equally annoying Rogue Traders, it seems like Australia is doing more damage than good to this particular branch of music.
However, less than three decades ago, our country yielded a pop-rock revolution. A band that wrote such controversial lyrics that nine
of their debutís eleven songs were banned from Radio and TV. A band that created the glam rock image years before it would appear in the US. A band that set the standards for every Australian musician to follow, who finally broke out of this country and put Australia on the international music map. This band was Skyhooks.
Coming forth from Melbourne in the early Ď70s, Skyhooks combined catchy riffs, tenacious rock beats, and a good does of Aussie humour. Before them, the biggest artist was Daddy Cool, with 50 000 records sold in Australia. The band blitzed this figure in less than a year by selling 300 000 copies of their debut Living In The Ď70s
, which stayed in the Australian charts at position 1 for 4 months.
It is impossible for me to explain to the majority of you (those not from Down Under, that is) just how phenomenal these guys were in my country. They were the first band from Melbourne to make it in Sydney and Brisbane. They were the first band to make it in the US. When the first colour TV broadcast swept Australia, they were playing on Countdown. When Double J (now JJJ) debuted, the first song they played (in order to display their rebellious attitude) was You Just Like Me ĎCos Iím Good In Bed
. And it is generally accept that without them, Mushroom Records would not be the massive indie label it is today.
Hell, Iron Fuck
iní Maiden covered their í78 single, entitled Women In Uniform
. So itís obviously strange that youíve never heard of them (and I know you havenít). But, thatís why Iím writing this review, isnít it.
The album opens with the title track, and starts the maddeningly fun ride of self-deprecating lyrics, masterful guitar work, and Shirleyís rather effeminate falsetto.
From the anarchic messages of Whatever Happened to the Revolution
and Hey Whatís The Matter
to the sexual themes oozing out of Smut
, Motorcylce Bitch
, Balwyn Calling
and of course You Just Like Me ĎCos Iím Good In Bed
, this album earned its status ten times over.
Itís probably telling of the perverse nature of teens that, despite the banning of so many tracks and the virtual shunning by the musical community, this band made it big before any others in Australia. And it deserved to, since every minute of this album is a great example of Ausrock in its prime. Even the weakest songs (musically), like Toorak Cowboy
, make up for it with their brilliant lyrics whilst the strongest songs, such as Horror Movie
beg the question, why arenít these guys more famous?
Of course, by todayís standards, the band is neither original, nor controversial, but the music still retains its charm, a charm that extends into every song, including the classic Why Donít You All Get Fucked
. And thatís really what makes this almost nostalgic trip back in time so fun. So go ahead and live in the Ď70s, Skyhooks-style. Just try not to pick up another diseaseÖ