No, I’m not here to stir the pot. Truly, I’m just here to throw an opinion (well, five in all) your way. 5 Great Australian Albums You Should Own. Okay, don’t take that too literally. Consider the following as pure personal suggestion. No, again, no fisticuffs…. But, yes, I DO invite discussion.
ICE HOUSE – MAN OF COLOURS (1987)
Yes, I didn’t say Primitive Man. I said Man of Colours. I can’t cheat (although I could put two Ice House records on this short-list of five). Man of Colours was a breakthrough moment in the career of Ice House, one with whole-album consistency. Yes, okay, there is that schmaltzy title-track… but, overall, it’s a fine example of polished Australian rock/new wave. Sentimental in places? Um, you betcha. But last night I had a little accident... and it didn't exactly upset the mood of the album, but it sure as hell came out of left field.
INXS – KICK (1987)
If I continue in this vein, it’s going to be a case of ‘5 Great Australian Break-Thru Albums You Should Own.’ Much like Ice House’s Man of Colours, it was Kick that did pretty much the same thing to INXS’s career (six albums in). Infamously discarded by Atlantic Records, Kick met with worldwide success. It is the album Listen Like Thieves was alluding to, one that perfectly showcased Michael Hutchence as THE lead singer. Each track geared for centre stage.
THE SAINTS - (I’m) STRANDED (1977)
All hail The Saints. Released independently, (I’m) Stranded is a treasure chest of Australian punk. Sure, it doesn’t deviate too much from the sound of many at the time, but its grit cranked to 11.
THE DIVINYLS – DESPERATE (1983)
Yes, the Divinyls would not be the Divinyls without Chrissy Amphlett. It’s a given. Technically their first album, Desperate is the true reveal for a band that would endure a scattered line-up over the following years. Desperate oozes a sexy cool, Amphlett’s voice making a meal out of otherwise straight-up songs (Casual Encounter being a perfect example – as an aside, it’s a slow version of what would become Aerosmith’s ‘Magic Touch’. I’m stretching, yeah?). Even in backup mode (‘Siren’) Amphlett soars. Timeless.
PAUL KELLY & THE COLOURED GIRLS (AKA THE MESSENGERS) – UNDER THE SUN (1987)
Yep, the album with ‘To Her Door’. What’s funny is ‘Dumb Things’ was featured on the ‘Young Einstein’ soundtrack… as too was The Model’s ‘I Hear Motion’. And I was *this* close to giving a nod to The Pleasure of Your Company. Okay, I’m off-track… Under The Sun is Paul Kelly at his story-telling finest, an album that sent his voice overseas (again, that’s certainly thanks to ‘Dumb Things’). With ‘To Her Door’ Kelly captured a universal yearning, a head-upon-lover’s shoulder sense of reflection. This was the one. A key to that door, if you will.
I’ve tried to be diverse in this list of five. Diversity has sent me straight to the 80s (with a slight detour to the 70s courtesy of The Saints). Perhaps I should side-step The Saints, add another great Australian album from the 80s and retitle this entry as ‘Great Australian Albums From The 80s’. Maybe… nah, I’ll leave it as is. Yes, you read it all correctly: No Midnight Oil, no AC/DC, no- Discussion before fisticuffs! Can my out be that the list was mood based/nostalgia based. ready to change at any moment in time? No, that's a cop out... I have my integrity!
Written by D. L. Bugeja