Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Scientists: Absolute 1991 + Sedition (Live) 2007

The Scientists is a post-punk band from Perth, Western Australia, led by Kim Salmon, initially

known as the Exterminators and then the Invaders. The band had two primary incarnations: the Perth-based punk band of the late 1970s and the Sydney/London-based swamp rock band of the 1980s. In October 2010, Blood Red River (1983) was included in the list in the book 100 Best Australian Albums.

The Australian group Scientists are guided by the rough-hewn voice and brawling guitar of Kim

Salmon, a legendary figure on the continent's music scene. The band started out in the late '70s as besuited punks playing an energetic mix of New York Dolls-style glam and jangling power pop. Early singles like "Frantic Romantic" and "Last Night" are fine examples of just how good that particular blend can sound. After a brief split, they returned in the early '80s as post-punk noise rockers with one foot in the blues and one foot in the gutter.     


The Blood Red River EP announced their arrival and 1985's You Get What You Deserve cemented their

place in the noise-rock firmament. After some disappointing time in London and a brief appearance on an American record label with 1986's Weird Love, Salmon broke up the band. After years spent pursuing a wide range of musical styles, Salmon re-formed the 1986 edition of Scientists on the heels of a career-spanning Numero Group box set. The band picked up where they left off, and after a few singles and an EP, delivered a vigorous comeback LP with 2021's Negativity.

The Scientists legend spread with the help of a couple of compilations, 1990's Pissed on Another

Planet, a set of early punk and power pop tracks, and 1991's Sub Pop-issued Absolute. Then, after years when they seemed destined to become a cult band that was lost to time, they reunited for a one-off show at 2010's ATP Festival in New York. After another few years of obscurity, in late 2016 Numero Group issued the comprehensive A Place Called Bad box set, which collected most of their work from the '80s.

Inspired by the set, Salmon re-formed the band (the 1985/1986 lineup of Salmon, Thewlis, Sujdovic,

and Cowie) for live shows in 2018. It went well enough that they decided to do some recording. The "Braindead (Resuscitated)"/"SurvivalsKills" single was issued in 2018, the 9H₂O.SiO₂ EP followed in 2019. Both were released by In the Red Records and showed that the band were just as abrasive and loose as ever, and the same lineup recorded 2021's Negativity album.

Salmon switched up the writing process this time, recording drums parts himself, then sending them to

Thewlis, who would come up with riffs. Next, the rest of the band would get together and work out the remainder. Regardless of the way it was made, the album is vintage Scientists, with a few twists, like the occasional female backing vocals, Baroque pop choruses, violins, and humorous lyrics thrown in along the way. The record was also released by In the Red.

Kim Salmon (vocals, guitar), Boris Sujdovic (bass, 1978, 1981-86, 2007-), James Baker (drums, 1978-81), Roddy Ray'da (guitar, vocals, 1978-79), Dennis Byrne (bass, 1979), Ben Juniper (guitar, 1979-80), Ian Sharples (bass, 1979-81), Brett Rixon (drums, bass, 1981-85, 1987), Tony Thewlis (guitar, 1981-87, 2007-), Richard Hertz (drums, 1985), Leanne Chock (drums, 1985-86, 2007-), Rob Coyne (bass, 1986), Nick Combe (drums, 1986-87)  



This collection is a band-compiled best-of, with cuts from Australia's the Scientists dating from 1981 to 1987.  

While the group officially formed in 1979, they released a string of astonishing albums in the '80s displaying a style that pre-dates the Sub Pop sound of the next decade. Drawing on the Stooges, the Rolling Stones, and the Seeds, their garage-influenced post-punk sound veered toward psychedelic pop, much like fellow countrymen the Saints. Absolute collects their highlights, "Swampland," "Set It on Fire" and "Blood Red River," making for an intense pummeling within the first half of the record.

What separated the Scientists from any number of post-punk bands of the time was the diversity of

influences, where Cramps-style garage twang rubs up against Big Star pop hooks, often within the same song, and leader and main mouth Kim Salmon has a keen sensibility for arrangements built around a drone -- such as the sublime "We Had Love" -- so it is no doubt they had admirers in Spacemen 3 and Mudhoney. Despite varying production standards, and non-chronological sequence of songs, this collection hangs together as well as any album could, and is a great introduction to the Scientists.
By Dean McFarlane

Scientists ‎– Absolute
Label: Red Eye Records ‎– RED CD 23
Format: CD, Compilation
Country: Germany
Released: 1991
Genre: Rock
Style: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock


01. Swampland     4:12
02. Fire Escape     3:54
03. We Had Love     4:50
04. Set It On Fire     2:51
05. Blood Red River     2:35
06. Solid Gold Hell     3:35
07. Nitro     3:30
08. Backwards Man     6:22
09. Murderess In A Purple Dress     2:41
10. Psycho Cook Supreme     2:59
11. Travis     3:57
12. It Came Out Of The Sky     3:03
13. You Only Live Twice     2:39
14. A Place Called Bad     4:42
15. Shine     5:21
16. Human Jukebox     4:50

MP3 @ 320 Size: 143 MB
Flac  Size: 421 MB



This live recording captures legendary Australian avant rock 'n' rollers The Scientists on the comeback

trail in support of Mudhoney last year, shortly after playing the All Tomorrow's Parties festival the grunge legends curated in May 2006. although the band formed in 1978, it was their post-1981 incarnation as a swampy garage combo that had the greatest effect on generations to come, with the likes of Thurston Moore, Nirvana, The White Stripes and ATP's own The Drones all citing them as an influence. The band's raucous sound certainly hasn't been tamed by the passage of time. Sedition finds them on top form, with this set sounding somewhere between the The New York Dolls and The Birthday Party.

[By Thom Jurek
Recorded at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London in May of 2006, the reunion of the original Australian wild boys -- now men -- the Scientists proved to be a vehicle for the band's seminal lineup of Kim

Salmon, Tony Thewlis, Boris Sudjovic, and Brett Rixon to resume operations at least as a touring entity in 2007. This live album attests to why that's true. Eleven tracks worth of classic Scientists material are here, from "Swampland," "Burnout," "Nitro," and "Blood Red River" to "Leadfoot," "We Had Love," "Rev Head," and "Set It on Fire" (11 songs in 45 minutes). It's as if they set out to make a definitive greatest-hits record, and most of these versions top the originals by an outback mile with ragged, swampy max volume with blast and throb intensity. Who the hell knew they still had it in them? This is two Aussie bands who have reunited and made live appearances that kick the living shit out of their much younger American contemporaries.

For those unaware of the Scientists, they come from Perth Australia, and were four disillusioned, drunken, doped up kids with guitars and fast cars who set out to make a racket in a town that had never heard one. Inspired by the noise of the Stooges, the MC5, Alice Cooper, Blue Cheer, Suicide, and a ton

of other American rawk acts from the '60s, they did it and carved out a sound that was copied to the point that people don't even know the source of it anymore. Insipid alienated whiney indie rock this ain't. This is ugly, brutal, bluesed-out rock & roll from another planet. Link Wray would have understood the Scientists, so would Lux and Ivy from the Cramps; Ron Asheton gets them, so did Mudhoney, Jon Spencer, Sonic Youth, fellow Aussies Dirty Three and Nick Cave. This is music that has to hit your body for you to actually encounter it fully, and you should. Anyone interested in the wild aspect of rock & roll, the untamed, savage fury and lust of its true hellbent spirit should give this one a shot. Those who dug the band back when; your suspicions have not been confirmed. This is the Scientists at their furious best.

Scientists ‎– Sedition
Label: ATP Recordings ‎– ATPRCD24
Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 2007
Genre: Rock
Style: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock




01. Swampland  (Written-By – Kim Williams)  5:20
02. Burnout     3:07
03. Solid Gold Hell     3:28
04. Nitro  (Written-By – Brett Rixon, Tony Thewlis)  3:29
05. Blood Red River  (Written-By – Linda Fearon)  2:50
06. Set It On Fire     2:47
07. Rev Head  (Written-By – Boris Sujdovic)  5:15
08. When Fate Deals Its Mortal Blow     2:44
09. Leadfoot     3:21
10. Backwards Man     7:59
11. We Had Love     4:45

MP3 @ 320 Size: 106 MB
Flac  Size: 199 MB

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