Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 22 August 1997
up to the Earthmen,
by Sacha Molitorisz
crowds aren't as forthcoming with the applause," The Earthmen's Scott Stevens says of
his hometown. "I don't think they appreciate music any less; but in Perth they're
dancing and clapping and wanting you to play another song, which surprised us."
Recently, Stevens was even more surprised on a jaunt
through Queensland. "We were playing at the Gold Coast, which is quite a strange
place - different to anywhere else I know. But this particular night we were enjoying
ourselves, and this one woman had been having a great time, yelling out at our bass player
"The next thing she was in the back
seat of a car driving away from us and she decided to show her appreciation by showing us
her arse." An insult, obviously. "No, it was done out of appreciation, which was
what struck us as so absurd. In a restaurant you don't get up, bare your arse and say,
"Mmmm, nice meal'. It's not the most intellectual response."
You might expect this sort of display for a
neo-punk band, but The Earthmen are anything but punk. In an age with more noisy
turn-it-up-to-eleven guitar thrashers than you could poke a Stratocaster at, the mellow,
rich, melodic strains of a song such as Hug Me Tighter is distinctive and seductive.
After experimenting with almost every other
format (including seven-inches, 12-inches and even a 10-inch), the five-piece recently
released their first full-length album, Love Walked In. Coming as it does more than four
years after the band formed, the record proves to be an excellent showcase for the talents
of the band's two core members: vocalist Stevens and guitarist / keyboardist /
percussionist / renaissance man Nick Batterham.
"There have been a lot of lineup
changes, and every time that affected the sound," Stevens says. "We did start
out as a more noisy type of pop band, relying on a lot of white noise. With this record we
remained more true to where we were coming from.
"Personally I like a lot of '60s and
early '70s stuff, like Crosby, Stills and Nash. I've also been inspired by the Byrds and
their exploration of sound and harmony and song, and their genre changes from acid-tinged
country rock crossed with pure pop to the beautiful harmonies and the folk element.
"Then there's The Smiths and the Stone
Roses, while, in Australia, there were The Triffids and The Go-Betweens. I think The
Earthmen are really different to those last two bands, who both had radically different
game plans. Although every band really has the same story: we all want to write good
And, perhaps, to have at least one fan bare
his/her bum at them.