LA FEMME - La Femme (Aztec Music)
The removable sticker on the front cover of this CD announces: "It's Punk, it's Rock, it's Glam, it's Metal. "
Was 1980 ready for such a hybrid??? Is 2007 ready for a re-release???
Definitely so, I reckon.
Admittedly I wasn't a big fan of this back in the day, but now I can appreciate what they were trying to do and have been enjoying cranking this up over the past few days.
To these ears it sounds like the band grew up on a respectable diet of Sex Pistols, Bowie, Rabbit, Sabbath, Dead Boys, Buffalo, Kiss, Generation X + T
Rex. The musicianship is very powerful and tight.
Guitarist Brett Walker has a killer '70s hard rock sound with some nice chunka chunka playing going on - which probably wasn't terribly fashionable back in post-new wave Melbourne (the cool local bands at the time were The Models and The Boys Next Door). His playing is classic '70s hard rock/glam much like Andy Scott of the Sweet.
Singer Chane Chane (who still fronts a new version of the La Femme) has a great, emotive voice with a slight Bowie, Bolan, and Gary Twinn (Supernaut) tone in his voice.
His lyrics tell of a hard life and indulgence, I gather much of what he sings about is 100 percent true (unlike La Femmes' alleged arch rival and bitter enermies Nick Cave and the Boys Next Door.)
The rhythm section of Graham Schiavello and Peter Kidd works brilliantly together. Very punchy and, well, rockin'!
The songs themselves are meaty, riffy, simple and dynamic.
I wonder if the original record company viewed this band as an Australian version of Generation X. they certainly both were unashamedly looking forward as well as looking to the past for inspiration.
As can be expected with all Aztec reissues the remastering is loud and energetic.
Bonus tracks?? I am a sucker for them and this edition doesn't disappoint.The best of which are two 1978 demos which are a lot more punk rock and snotty
than the album versions. We also get two single-only cover versions of The Beatles' "I Wanna Be Your Man" (which the band performed on Countdown) and a version of the Kinks' "All Day and All of the Night" which quite frankly I do not like due to its poor re-arrangement (but didn't The New Christs do a great version of this song.)
Three tracks from 1979 show the band getting slower, more complex and heavier: "I Wish" borrows from the Blue Oyster Cult's "Tattoo Vampire", a re-recording of album track "One of My Friends" doesn't vary too much from the original and there's a six-minute metal epic "On The Wall".
The packaging to does not disappoint with a ton of old photos, gig flyers and excellent liner notes by Ian McFarlane whose writing of late has never been better.
Now...can somebody bring this band to Sydney !- Stephen Danno-Lorkin
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