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West Australian Review, 3 April 1997
Bringing Pop Down To Earth,
by Sue Yeap
Finely crafted pop songs with a feeling for melody rooted in 60s tradition set Melbourne band The Earthmen apart from so many other newcomers to the music scene.

Formed more than five years ago by singer Scott Stevens and guitarist Nick Batterham, The Earthmen released a couple of singles on the independent Summershine label in 1993.

They also released a mini-album called Teen Sensations on the Atlantic offshoot Seed in the US before signing to Warner Music in Australia.

Last year saw the release of the Scene Stealer EP and the single Hug Me Tighter, plus a profile-boosting national tour with Alanis Morissette.

Recently the band released a new single, Whoever's Been Using This Bed, as a taste of what to expect from their debut album Love Walked In, due for release on April 21.

"It's doing okay but it is weird being a pop band in Australia," says Scott Stevens of the single.

"It's like a dirty word for some people. But that's where we're coming from. It's starting to be played a lot more now so it seems to be doing OK."

Stevens and Batterham travelled to and from Sydney over several months to record the album with Daniel Denholm, with whom they had worked on Scene Stealer.

Assorted musicians played on the album but the live line-up now features Matthew Siley (bass/organ), Craig Mitchell (drums) and Nick Murray (guitar).

"I don't know why we recorded in Sydney, we kept asking ourselves why during the recording," says Stevens.

"It's nice to be removed from where you usually are in some ways. In Melbourne we all have our problems, our phone bills, our girlfriends.

"We wanted a big stereo sound, something that sounded big, like the 60s effort of using everything you can.

"A lot of great bands of the 60s used everything technological to the utmost."

Although The Earthmen's flair for using melody, big instumentation and lush strings has a 60s feel, Stevens says the band didn't set out to specifically make a 60s sounding record.

"Whoever was written in 1995 maybe and started off as a pastorally country song with lots of strings, then it went more upbeat. Song To Sing was the last song written.

"We tried not to recreate a specific genre in any song although some music we like is reflected, say, in a drum beat. We hope what comes across is we like a lot of music from different periods. The Byrds are my favourite band."

Stevens and Batterham collaborate on songwriting in a number of ways. Sometimes one will write the lyrics and the other the melody, or perhaps, as was the case with Whoever, a song might start from the sound of strings.

"Sometimes they are written by Nick and I sing them. It varies from song to song quite dramatically and that comes across in the music. You can tell someone who sings and writes their own songs. They follow the chords, you can tell. Like Evan Dando, you can tell he writes his own songs."

Stevens says The Earthmen's songs tend to be about real people but often the characters may be disguised by who's telling the story.

"The characters are elements of everyone, ourselves, friends. None are really made up, like I won't sit and write about Joe who works at the bar, I'm not that kind of person.

"It's funny, some songs are written in the first person and some in the third person are about us. We care about our friendships."

He says there's no attempt to duplicate the lush sound live on stage.

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