Thank God someone from Sydney nascent late '70's punk scene was listening to '60's London, Liverpool, Manchester rather than (as well as?) Detroit , New York! With this collection, Steve Lucas and his Pubert Brown-Fridge Occurrence cohorts redress the balance and remind the world that it wasn't just Britain's Nuggets garage obscurities or America's art rock or shock rock outsiders that were impacting on the impressionable minds of the world's youth and Australia's in particular.
The Beat groups that burst out in the wake of the Beatles were making gems just as amazing, just as adventurous, often just as hilarious as anything that came out punk scene 15 years ago.
Here on one disc is the impact of those groups, in all their manifestations, from pure pop to vaudeville, art house to fun house, all delivered with tender loving care but with tongue set firmly in cheek, just the way it should.
This record fairly sweats Fab, pop to smile away the day, or perhaps a slightly inebriated evening or three.
Eight Days A Week
... done the way Lennon would have recorded it for the White Album, just to piss McCartney off ... Fab Four on dope!
...are we sniffing Syd Barrett's aftershave, pure Floyd pop before Syd lost the plot, complete with "recorder" solo!
Come Friday Afternoon
...move over Traffic, or is it the Kinks? Small Faces? Either way here come the Puberts, doing their own trippy kind of Friday On My Mind anthem.
Make It Happen
... Phil Judd tried to recreate this sort of gloriously
"lads" style Small Faces singalong thing with the Swingers. Problem was he didn't have the sense of humour. Steve Lucas obviously has in spades. So what if he had a hit with it!
The Ice Cream Song
... More Elvis Costello than The Move perhaps, or is it The Turtles? Maybe this is what happened once they got Eleanor
sung by Gerry "Loved Ones" Huphreys pretending to be Mike Oldfield. Confused? Good! A kiddies xylophone has never sounded so rock.
Bite The Sun
... Back to the British side of the Pond for another slice of Pop psychedelia in that Incense Peppermints vibe.
Love Is A Virus
...Bonzo Dog Doodah Band taking on Bryan Ferry territory, at least lyrically! Or is it even scarier, and reliving the duets of...now who was it sang Cinderella Rockafella? That's right, Esther & Abi Ofarim! Immortally naff!!
The One You Love
... " You and me going nowhere" Beatles descend to New Vaudeville vocal melodies, kazoo solos and a most curious guitar sound, dodgy synth brass section and more gloriously kaleidoscopic musical mayhem in an outro that could go on forever. And almost does!
Bottle Of Gin
... Kinks teritory, God bless 'em. Who cares? Where's the ice?!
Neon and Venom
...Oooh, "raawwwkkk!!" But wait, we're still not quite in Gun n Roses territory, though these days even they would probably be happy with a gig at Dapto RSL! Either way the Puberts AND Pubettes! are rockin' out there. Tex Perkins would be proud.
Don't Cry No Tears
...Heart on sleeve, string section tugs at your emotions, the "BIG LOVE SONG", part Donovan part Barry Ryan.
This is the sensitive Stephen, the romantic strolling balladeer, and the perfect end to a perfect pop confection, and my goodness, where did that Robert Plant scream come from? Epic, fab, groovy gear indeed!
Michael Smith. The Drum
"This is the sort of album that only a totally unhinged label like Laughing Outlaw would release. It's certifiably weird in that wonderful psychedelic sense of complete lunacy. It's also literate, impassioned and sounds like it comes from another place and time. The Kinks and The Move intersect via Stanmore in 2003. How come X never sounded like this? Go figure."
"Is this some kind of flashback or has Steve Lucas dared to
Steve Lucas is best known in Australian rock circles as frontman for punk rock legends
X. He has some of the biggest lungs in the business and can belt out a racket on his guitar, but there is a softer side to this gangly rock stalwart. It can be heard on X's devastatingly mournful Don't Cry No Tears or solo numbers like All By Myself.
I first heard Lucas's delicacies at the Grace Darling Hotel in Collingwood. Attending my childhood babysitter's surprise 90th birthday I heard strangely familiar sounds emanating from the pub below as the drunken son mumbled an incoherent longwinded speech. It was X unplugged: my favourite punk songs, played acoustically by Lucas with bongos! It became clear: scratch away the bombastic guitars and bravado from Lucas' work, and you are left with classic songs, wonderful melodies and Lucas' rich laconic vocals.
For his new solo project, Pubert, Lucas is plugging in, but rather than being inspired by punk rock, he's nodding his head to the classic British bands of the late 60's such as The Kinks.There's the expected great playing and singing, but still plenty of the X swagger and Lucas humour. As a clever interpreter of songs (he's done amazing things with Roy Orbison's Dream Baby and KISS' I Was Made for Loving You), Lucas has finally made the Beatles' corny Eight Days a Week a great song!
Patrick Donovan. The Age
"More than the mostest. The Kinks and The Small Faces could really learn a thing or two from this exciting new group!"
Murray Engleheart. Remedy, The Drum
When I first heard this album, I helpfully remarked to Steve, "You know - I think you're getting there with this recording". "Yes, great", he said. "I've only been at it for 25 years". His debut album with X - X-Aspirations - was recorded in an afternoon and is considered an Australian masterpiece. I may as well have said, "here, take this egg and suck..."
In 25 years, Steve's been through many musical guises - Double Cross, Groody Frenzy, Bigger than Jesus... The constant, of course, has been X. On reading X reviews I always thought most reviewers were getting it wrong, that they misinterpreted what was really going on. There may have been that famous punk ethos, but, musically, X were a pop band with pop influences and
pop sensibilities. And they certainly knew how to rock and roll.
But this isn't about X. Only in that it's the forays away from X that give the game away. Take The Pubert Brown Fridge Occurrence, for instance. Steve has assembled an ensemble cast for his rather theatrical production, A Once And Future Thing. A cast that features the talents of Geoff Holmes, Jim Dickson, John Butler, Rebecca Hancock along with a cameo appearance from
John Gaucci. Not only can you hear the fun they had during these sessions, you can feel it.
Fun is the essence of the ‘Occurrence’. After a drunken midnight raid of the high school music department the ‘Fridge’ have delivered a happy rollicking record full of - occasionally sleazy - pop nuggets. Cuckoo clocks mix easily with recorders, tubas, mandolins and kazoos. It's a mock-opera, a canvas on which to write your own story, inviting you to engage your imagination (as any good concept album should).
From the opening tripped out, lazing cover of, 'Eight Days A week', to the tender X-reprised 'Don't Cry No Tears', Pubert Brown-Fridge takes you on a cheerfully boozy tour through German beer halls, bustling train stations, Patpong-style nightclubs, a ride on an old fairground round-a-bout and a sticky beachside rendezvous. A bottle of gin is no longer cause for maudlin introspection but extroverted celebration. Roll out the barbie and let's get started. The town's never looked so brown!