Share WHY DO PEOPLE HATE US? LIVE AT THE SEAVIEW BALLROOM 1984 – Depression (Rub and Tug Records)
My friends, some reviews will literally write themselves. Why do people hate us? Short answer; you suck. If you already know what the laws of diminishing returns had done to punk rock by 1984, you can just take me at my word and move on to the next review. If you want a longer answer, stick around and I’ll tell you why.

Reason one; a quote from the press release:

“A moment of clarity and divine inspiration at the hands of an illegal immigrant in a seedy side-street massage parlor(sic), gave Rub and Tug Records founder Corky the necessary impetus to create Australia’s newest punk / hardcore label.”(sic, sic, sick)

Hello?

Since when was punk rock about having your dick pulled in a brothel? Wasn’t that the jive we had a war against? If you don’t want people to hate you, don’t confess to having sex with prostitutes. It’s not like anyone is going to run up to you and shake your hand by way of congratulations. It means you are a Loser.

Corky did indeed go on to found a record label. He got hold of a bootleg cassette of band called Depression and probably ran it though one of those mastering programmes that everyone uses these days. The sound is, technically at least, surprisingly good. You can, however, make a technically perfect recording of an old man snoring and it would be more listenable than this. Bringing us to...

Reason two; the music.

In 1976, the Sex Pistols were punk. Television were punk. Patti Smith was punk. Blondie were punk. Basically, the new was punk and the old was anything boring. If it was old and it wasn’t boring, we just appropriated it to the cause. By 1984, the sour-pussed Johnny-come-latelies had rolled up with their book of rules and two-inch dicks. Instead of a broadening vista, punk was corralled into a funnel.

This CD is the sound of that implosion.

Sexless, stuttering rage hammered home without melody or tact. Near grown men having temper tantrums, trying to voice existential angst with the vocabulary of an extra in a George Romero zombie movie. There are those who believe this is a virtue. There are those who hold this up as an ideal. For some, this is the whitest of white people music. There are also those who feel the need to treat themselves, big boy.

The best thing I can say about the music here is that it at least makes an effort to combine the three major strands of punk of the time. Predominantly, they employ the East London Oi sound with a touch of US hardcore and a whiff of Anarcho Punk in the lyrics. I can tell you I hear these things in the music but, you know, it’s not that exciting. It’s competent. These guys can play. They’ve practiced very hard. I’m sure they had very authentic haircuts, too. Unfortunately, the CD provides no photographic evidence to support this supposition.

Reason three; the attitude.

Another truly uninspiring thing about this CD is the lyrics. Here we have a bunch of tough guy punk rockers whinging about how nobody likes them. “Why do people keep staring at us?” Well, that’d be the clothes and the funny haircuts and the fact you’re running about screaming “Fuck” at everyone. Take it from one attention seeker to another; if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Don’t sit there complaining that Mommy doesn’t love you or that no-one will have sex with you. No-one likes a man who screams abuse at the world just because he has to pay someone to pull on his sad drooping penis. Write a fucking love song. Proclaim yourself a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm. Don’t fucking whine at me. Why do people hate you? I’m guessing it’s because you hate people.

The only reason you’d buy this is if you were there or you are the kind of freak who likes to pretend they were there. As far as Australian punk goes, I can name 50 purchases you should make before you went anywhere near this. - Bob Short

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DEPRESSION - Depression (Reactor Records)
The mid-'80s in Australia seems so long ago. High-energy music ruled the roost, and the hardcore scene was especially thriving. Along with Massapeal, Melbourne-based Depression were arguably the biggest names. This CD compiles their early material (1983-85) before they moved in a metal direction.

While its push into Australia was strongly led by Sydney labels Waterfront Records and Aberrant, I wasn't much into hardcore. It burned but seemed constrained by its own codes and tribal fashions and sure seemed grim. But I did know Depression.

With their rampant energy and sharply articulate guitar playing - Smeer sure would have given Greg Ginn a run for his money - Depression were a notch above the simplistic thrash-and-bash component of the competition. Their social commentary was cutting on occasions that it hit the mark, but it was the music that mattered. At times, Depression were one of the angriest bands on the planet.

This 40-track collection covers Depression's self-titled LP, their first single and the Lobby Loyde-produced "Australia Australia" EP, with three demoes thrown in for good measure. The marked progression in confidence and technical ability is apparent, with the "Australia Australia" tracks swerving from the straight hardcore of "TV Lies" to the caustic punk of "The Box", the latter boasting a massive bass sound that must have been X-influenced, given the affiliation of their producer.

Be warned that Depression's music still sounds brutally uncompromising. Tightly-wound packages of lockstep guitar and bass with frantic drumming come flying past, most under two minutes duration and some sub-60 seconds. Vocalist Spike spits out his words for maximum effect, with no airs, graces or British/American accent apparent.

It's only an occasional pause for air ("The Plan") that eases the tension. But that's exactly how hardcore shows went back then, and it would have been a travesty to break the mould or use studio trickery when recording. The lurching baseline of "The Box" and the menace of "Social Tension" in particular show strengths not apparent on the earlier material.

A lot of passion went into compiling this. The package is a beauty too, with a booklet crammed with photos. - The Barman


 

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