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The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 22 August 1997

Bottom's up to the Earthmen,
by Sacha Molitorisz

"Melbourne 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 and whatever.

"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 songs."

And, perhaps, to have at least one fan bare his/her bum at them.

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