HARD RUBBISH - Boondall Boys (Swashbuckling Hobo Records)
There was a time, when Australia's Onyas were the meanest, drunkest, ugliest, buncha thugs in the land. (Hey! This is all about myth-making, OK?) Clubbing their sloppy 'Killed-by-Death 101' style, of punk rock into submission for spare change and some booze at any given chance...supporting, headlining or just for shits and giggles - anyone remember the Stagger Inn? - and leaving any other troupes who had the misfortune to follow them shitting their pants.
My fave memory - and a lot of the ones involving the Onyas are a little hazy, as they should be - is the night of the Bored! (Hemensley, Nolan) reunion show, which, was a big deal to anyone who ever dealt vicariously in the Geelong-Melbourne and Dog Meat scene. Nostalgia, I guess some of that was doing the rounds that night...
It was early when The Onyas took to the stage. They'd just returned from a American tour-of-duty, and anyone who's seen a 'homecoming show' by a local band knows what I'm talking 'bout. Primed and L.E.T.H.A.L.! Basically, local bad boys who'd done good. (By the way: At risk of turning this into the makings of a gossip column, I've heard some stories of said tour. Punk.)
They took the stage and proceeded to club the place into such utter submission, the only comparison, that came to my mind, was prime Zeke. Anything that came before (was it Warped?) and after (the aforementioned reunion) was obsolete, and superfluous. OK, that's not quite the truth, but I'm trying to get to a sharp point here. They spoke in such an intense language that they left the roof torn off the Corner Hotel that night. What the rest of the bands thought of the wreckage that was left (I was privy to some of it, but like I said, this ain't the making of a gossip column) would have been enough to to send most out the backdoor, packing their gear. Like I said Lethal, and to anyone, to whom this served as an introduction to what I call Punk Rock, I'm sure, it's a yardstick like, say, early Powdermonkeys shows are to me.
Anyway I've digressed. It's nine years on and The Onyas sort of imploded, (NO-ONE can keep that sort of 'intensity factor', up, period). Labels were formed (Dropkick), concerns were strewn elsewhere and Macka played gun for hire in a number of troupes. (Google away, kids).
So now, Macka's back with a Long Player and a new bunch of reprobates, that flash on latter-day Onyas (minus, the self destruction). While he's in no way trading on past indiscretions or glories, it's not bad. That means it's good and while I'm not going to focus on the covers (Bored!, Gun Club, Black Flag) let's say they never come off as 'padding'. They are more 'logical conclusions' and bookends to the original numbers here, whose subject matter and playing hasn't changed from the "old days".
There's a, certain creeping paranoia to all of this record, with its crepuscular, chunking guitars and mumbled lyrics that are anchored by drums, (think mid-period Cosmic Psycho Bill Walsh) and some solid bass. So, basically a good rhythm sectionholds down what could have been a potentially sloppy and dense affair without them.
This record (like anything Macka's been involved in) in makes no concessions to current recording trends and - judging by the cover - fashion (both traits that are commendable, BTW).
My fave cuts on this are the Dragging, Black Flag-like (My War era) dirge, that is "34-6" and opening number "King Wally" which could well be "Allan Murray part 2" with its insistently snotty surge.
I'm also tipping that this record wont win them a lot of new fans, even with a recent upsurge in garage-punk. It'll most probably fly underneath the radar of the trendy-cool underground set, but I guess the middle finger is so firmly shoved in your face that, unless you can handle a thick streak of irony and realism in your punk, this may well be not your cup of soy chai; for me, it's a large fresh 'n' frothy pint of Tasmanian Pale Ale...
Oh and nostalgia? What's that? - Tom G
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