I Love A Funk-Bashed Country
Passable review of the debut self titled album.
Author: Mark Mordue, RAM.
Date: 17 September 1982.
Original URL: N/A
My neighbour, she is dying. She says she loves Hunters & Collectors, those precocious loud-noise rhythm boys from the Deep South. She says the beat is big and strong, and the only way to hear the heart of the music’s power is to play it again and again at full volume. Bludgeon yourself on the rocks of anguish…beat, beat, beat.
I love a funk-bashed country, a land of sweeping pains, just like we all should. But my neighbour, she is dying. She says there is something very primary about the Hunters & Collectors sound. Something uncertain in the erratic cascades of noise and hate and fear and darkness and dreams. Something God-FEARING. Good living. Hunters & Collectors are a modern phenomenon, iconographers of inner city emotional starvation. They scream…all of the days and all of the night.
But my neighbour, she is dying. She says the video of Talking to a Stranger is startling. And it is. So big, so desperate, hurtling, stumbling, shaking…beat, beat, beat. She says it made her wake up sweating and alone. She wears pixie shoes and listens to Keith Jarret on sunny Sundays and is so modern. So up-to-date. When we walk alone together there is nothing there but William Conrad and Jesus Christ, dark hearts and black eyes. Talking To A Stranger.
Funk is the influence. Dance. Dance. Dance. The songs pull together oblique observations of urban Australia, heaving with the guts of a big, wide, empty space. Alligator Engine takes the truth and rattles it around. “This Territory’s cold/with this Alligator Engine/ With this Alligator Soul”.
And it is so awfully cold for young boys who play with dark shadows. So awfully cold for my neighbour. She is dying and she loves this so.
Yet this isn’t a great record, even though it has great moments. Boo Boo Kiss grinds along, eating up huge whacks of nothingness, exalting “the ashtray chant” to giddy heights, growling out the “heart throb of sob”, dissipating into a whistling tune and a cry of “Don’t do that”. Even the jokes are black for Hunters & Collectors. There are lots of other great black songs, fucking with Godot, that boy with the pudding bowl haircut who got pushed over in the playground…oh, Junket Head. But overall there’s too much at once, too much roaring of and for and at the VOID to appreciate it all in one burst…beat, beat, beat.
My neighbour she is dying and I can hear her blowing Boo Boo Kisses to me as the wind runs across the fence, through the doors and windows, up the stairs to my room. I feel lonely and I don’t like this record sometimes because it is just TOO MUCH TOO LOUND TOO OFTER TOO THICK TOO HEAVY TOO BLANK for me to take/handle/bother with. Time will make the band explode or advance them to add-ball shouts and squeaks, but for the moment it’s the dim flavor of four a.m. munchies, when it all tastes good because it doesn’t matter what you’re shoving in your mouth as long as it’s there. When and if the band foes forward, they may learn to/try to/want to run hot and cold a but more instead of cold and cold and cold.
My neighbour, she is dying and I don’t know why. But I write garbage to be forgotten, like Hunters & Collectors scrawl sounds to be remembered, and it matters so very little. They’re just a band making a promising, but special start. And she is dying and I think it’s just me, dying, dying, dying…beat, beat, beat.
Thankyou to Stephen for typing out this article for us all to enjoy!