Saturday, May 20, 2023

Whinging for perfection...

Yep, by the end of the 80s it was confirmed.  I was NOT a fan of Hunters & Collectors. I hadn't purchased any of their records but I gave them a chance. Videos on MTV. Radio singles. Even heard the better parts of albums like Cut and Ghost Nation. Alas, I enthusiastically stamped this band with the great big NO.  Their cred as Aussie alterna-Wunderkinds and all the critical acclaim in the world did nothing for me, and I was convinced they would never lodge my proverbial needle. Why you might ask?  The band's horn section was way to prominent, and I simply didn't gravitate to any of their tunes.  My mind was made up.  Or was it?

Fast forward three decades and some change. I knew full well the band had a larger catalog than I was initially exposed to, but I dared not investigate it, at least on my own volition. Then this record made it's way into my browsing fingers a few months ago at a bargain-bin asking price. Copyrighted 1983. Surveyed the artwork - interesting, even appealing. Ditto for the abstract song titles. What I assumed was the band's debut album (also self titled) was actually a hodge podge of early ep and albums cuts, designed to bait a potential North American audience. I was intrigued. Could there have actually been something in the H&C realm that was remotely enticing after all?  I took the plunge and soon found out. The seven cuts presented here were not the glossy, or even brassy product of the band that made my sensibilities bristle all those years ago, rather the work of inventive, borderline avant-collective who were tapping into a serious post-punk vein, informed by the likes of Public Image Ltd, Japan, and even the earliest endeavors of home-country mates Midnight Oil. And they had plenty of wholly original maneuvers up their sleeves as well. Maybe not out-and-out catchy (often dissonant in fact) but surely competent, edgy and alluring. Am beyond chuffed that I gave this band a second chance. Since most of their catalog is available in one guise or another this will likely be the first (and last) post regarding H&C, but if your initial experience was anything like mine, try to be more open minded than I was. 

01. Tow Truck
02. Droptank
03. Mouthtrap
04. Lumps of Lead
05. Talking to a Stranger
06. Scream Who
07. Run Run Run



Failsafe said...

the first album is best and it goes down from there.
They had a percussionist that gave them a post punk edge but he got dumped after the first album (1982 self titled with a bonus ep).
I saw them a few times live and the best was the first gig. It just got more bogan pub rock anthems as it went on.

spavid said...

From what I've been able to glean thus far, I'd say that's pretty accurate Failsafe. Thanks for commenting.

piratecyan said...

I suggest their album Jaws of Life 1984. After this, the rough edges started to get smoothed off and they became more bland with every album. My fav songs are Betty's Worry or The Slab and Carry Me.

d.ross said...

Jaws of Life was for some reasons one of only three or four pre-recorded cassettes I ever owned. I thought it was the sweet spot between this early unmelodic noise and later pop.