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Specimens - Quick And The Deaf

  by Anthony Dhanendran

published: 20 / 11 / 2005

Specimens - Quick And The Deaf
Label: In-fidelity
Format: CD


Unpretentious and thoroughly enjoyable three chord garage rock from unpolished Melbourne-based punks, the Specimens

Where would we be without Australians? Although the Australian music industry is undoubtedly more diverse than it appears to be from here, it does seem like there’s something of a predominance of three-chord ramalamalama punk rock bands. In the last couple of years the more subtle aspects of the Australian recording industry have started coming through and (despite Savage Garden) it’s no longer the case that we greet new bands from Oz with raised eyebrows and lowered expectations. That said, it’s nice to know where you stand, and where we stand is pretty quickly apparent as far as Melbourne’s Specimens are concerned. Right from the get-go, it’s straight into the punk rock chords, and it doesn’t relent for another 35 minutes. That’s not to say this is a bad album. It’s just that it’s not the kind of album that could have been made in the UK in the last five years without being drenched in the kind of ironic sauce that makes the Darkness so deadly dull. There doesn’t appear to be much irony here, or rather, there is, but it’s not directed at the music. In all likelihood, the Specimens know they’re making music that sounds like it was put together 15 years ago. The thing is, they’re good at it. There are shades of Guns ‘N’ Roses in opener 'Head Straight' and in 'Get On Top'. Elsewhere we find nods, lyrically, to other such unfashionable rock luminaries as Thunder and similar early 1990s bands. There are also nods to more recent, and more fashionable, Aussie rock bands, such as the Datsuns. But where the Datsuns lay it all on a bit thick, the Specimens hold off, musically, so that the whole thing never quite tips over the precipice into full-on rock-dom. There’s plenty here to satisfy rock fans, though, with driving riffs all over the place, and several catchy choruses. This album isn’t going to change any minds, nor is it going to make many people think again about Australian music. Which is a shame, because it’s rather good, and at just 35 minutes, it never gets tired, or tiring. In its unpretentious way, it comes across, from the entertainingly mis-punctuated sleevenotes to the endearingly unpolished performances (although Lindsay Gravina’s production is spotless, another nod to the early 1990's), as just a bunch of guys who happened to put an album together. Which is what all rock bands aim for – that easy insouciance and the cool manner of someone who isn’t bothered by what you think. There are no surprises here, other than the fact that this is a fun, entertaining and enjoyable punk rock album.

Track Listing:-
1 Head Straight
2 Drama Queen
3 Get On Top
4 What Ya Wanna Do?
5 One Man Rampage
6 Janie
7 Kiss On The Lips
8 Makin' Time
9 Levitate
10 The Quick And The Deaf

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