Hunters and Collectors – The Jaws of Life
Hunters & Collectors third studio album, “The Jaws Of Life” is a very raw album which is an acquired taste. If you can forgive the harsh vocals, one excellent album. CD version repacked with “Payload” EP.
Released In: [Australia / NZ] [Europe] [USA] [Canada].
Release Date: 6 August 1984. CD Reissue: July 1991. Remaster: 11 August 2003.
Australian Chart Position: 89 (AMR) (Gold).
Availability: Extremely common. Available new in CD and digital forms.
Highly recommended track.
Version: Mushroom and Liberation Records Australian CD album (LP/tape versions exactly the same, without “Payload” EP).
Album length: 59 minutes, 49 seconds.
ReplayGain loudness: -1.73dB (1991); -10.03dB (2003/2008).
- 42 Wheels
- Holding Down A D
- The Way To Go Out
- I Couldn’t Give It To You
- It’s Early Days Yet
- I Believe
- Betty’s Worry or The Slab
- Hayley’s Doorstep
- Red Lane
- Carry Me
- Little Chalkie
- Towtruck #
- Droptank #
- Mouthtrap #
- Lumps of Lead #
# Taken from the “Payload” EP.
Version: Mushroom Records Australian vinyl Promo.
EP length: 14 minutes, 52 seconds.
ReplayGain loudness: N/A.
One of the greatest albums of all time… I make no bones about it.
From the ignition cranking an engine into life at the opening, the songs thunder along like a road train, their lyrical cargo strapped down to pulsing bass lines, punctuated with blasts of horn and staccato strings. At the time of its release, it was a breath of fresh air, and there really hasn’t been another like it in the 18 years since. It still doesn’t sound quite like anything else. I recall at the time describing it to a friend as sounding like ‘the band A Certain Ratio dreamed of becoming’… the music press came up with a loosely-tied tag of ‘dirty art funk’.
The album opens with 42 Wheels, in which the trucker drives his road train towards town at full tilt, with no intention of applying the brakes. As if ploughing through the paralytic mob – the flesh and the buildings – will somehow erase a bitter past that haunts him. This is the ‘title track’ of the album, as the resultant wreck will be a ‘jaws of life job’.
The finale, Little Chalkie, is an exceptionally powerful and moving track, and possibly ‘the saddest song you’ll ever hear’. Again the narrator is a trucker, though this one is unable to exact vengeance on their hometown and past, and mourns the passing of an era as she passes through the place she comes from, with no hope of return. The internal becomes externalised. The dead and deserted desert town is not solely scenery, it is a living memory. The bass line drives through the song with the unrelenting certainty of passing time and leaves us hanging on a final pulse… uncertain if the next will ever come.
Between these two tracks, we are taken on a cinematic roadtrip through a landscape of desolate plains, ghost towns and raw emotion where drinking and falling over reach poetic proportions. On first listening, the songs seem to be preoccupied with bars, beer and puke, and yet at the same time sound unusually profound. Here lays the genius of the songwriting, deep gut-wrenching emotional honesty lurking beneath the surface of macho pose and posturing. This contrast makes the brave baring of souls all the more powerful and lastingly poignant. The adrenalin rush of the music is fueled by the emotion of the lyrics.
– Jeremy Dean (check out Scrawl Magazine)
The Jaws Of Life album:
Recorded at Can’s studio with Renee Tinner, Weilerswist, Germany. 1984.
Mixed at Conny’s studio by Conny Plank, Neunkirchen, Germany. 1984.
The Slab and Carry Me remixed by Greg Edward at A.A.V., Melbourne, Australia. 1987.
The Payload EP:
Produced by Mike Howlett and H&C.
Recorded at A.A.V., Melbourne; mixed at studio 301, Sydney. 1982.
Lyrics, music, artwork, management by hunters and collectors.
The Jaws of Life
42 wheels of pleasure and pain
are bearing down on the Alice again
and oh, I bitterly regret
I had to spit the dummy
do a Jaws of Life job
Had to leave a lasting impression
on the Paralytic Mob
But this weapon is Perfect
I can hardly miss
and they’re Gonna Howl
When they hear it thunder
Like some dumb Everlasting Kiss