KICK THE DRUGS - The Wallbangers (Spooky Records)
It's like some Melbourne-via-London underground rock royalty game of one upmanship, this: Nick has Grinderman and Mick has The Wallbangers. Lazy comparison it may be, but there are undeniable parallels.

The Wallbangers live on the same welfare housing estate as Grinderman but instead of lounging around the back verandah, drinking pre-mixed bourbon and complaining about middle-aged spread and a lack of pussy, they're busy in the garage getting down and grimy while working on a re-birthed car. Both on the dole...different output..same delinquent streak.

When not tinkering with a re-bored 356 Hemi, Mick Harvey is of course Nick Cave's musical right arm, a multi-instrumentalist, arranger extraordinaire and solo artist in his own right. While Grinderman allows Cave the chance to wallow about in the mud like a rock pig and wear a shit-eating grin, The Wallbangers are the side project that affords Harvey semi-anonymity and a similar degree of fun.

It's a four-track EP and most prominent among the collaborators is Tex Perkins, who vocally tackles the title track like it's an end-of-tour post-mortem on a train-crash Beasts of Bourbon tour (which it could be except Harvey wrote it.) It a straight-up guitar kicker, a bit preachy but still pretty cool.

There are three more errant children to like. "Sex Appeal" gets along on a cast-iron metallic guitar line and a seething vocal. "The World Keeps Spinning Around" casts you adrift in a buzz of guitar that's positively Beastly in its own weary tone, while "Love Assassin" (in which Carmen Loene had a writing hand) rides a bubbling funk bassline and more (jagged) guitars and grows with successive listens.

This was originally a Bang! Records 7" EP from 2007 that's now well out-of-print so do two things when you wind up reading this: Score a copy from Spooky and keep an eye out for a promised follow-up EP in 2008. - The Barman






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