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Canberra Times (Canberra), 15 May 1997
Not of this Earth,
by Mark Ludlow
Five Lads, dressed in that scruffy British indie style with mop-top hair, stumble in from the cold,windy Canberra streets and down the stairs to the basement club, the Gypsy Bar. They all look relatively young, but surounding them is a distinct air of confidence. The Earthmen have walked in. The Melbourne band knows it possesses that elusive mixture of talent and persistence to make it (both here and overseas) and have the perfect opportunity to carve it own little place in the annals of Australian pop.

Firstly, Scott Stevens possesses arguably one of the best voices in Australian music - a disarmingly emotive and passionate vox which spends much of the time floating around the upper octave range (one person commented to me that they could hardly believe it was a male singing). While Nick Batterham remains the quiet achiever - the musical architect of the band, co-writing and performing the grand song structures with his fluid and mostly understated guitar sounds. After a collection of ear-catching EPs The Earthmen released its long awaited debut album, Love Walked In, and astounded most rock critics with its maturity. It would take most great bands till its third or fourth album to make an album of such passion, intellect, and quality.

It is an album devoted to the many faces of love - "the good, the bad, and the ugly" - and the end result is one of the freshest Australian pop releases I've ever heard. In many ways it is the Go-Betweens' 16 Lovers Lane of the 1990s - an album without peer in the Cupid stakes.

Sipping his coffee, Scott Stevens says "The reviews have been pretty good, which is a bit surprising because you never know what people are going to take from your album. We like it, but the reasons why we like it don't always correspond to why other people like it. When we recorded the album we noted that it was obvious that it was totally thematic but that was just due to the context in which the songs were written. They reflected a certain period of time of about a year."

The dark lyrics/sweet pop dichotomy is present throughout the album from the dependance on first love 'Whoever's been using this bed - ("Because he's nothing, but its all she's ever had"), lost love (Coloured in and This Much I know) and the deteriorating relationship,( So Far So Wrong, Love Walks In, and Lie Without.)

The polished, but not too slick production treats every song as an individual entity. "We wanted a big stereo sounding record, where you could hear things going on. We wanted wierd noises, but they didn't have to be My Bloody Valentine-esqe noises screaming out. We wanted something a bit clearer, to have a certain clarity in the recording, not hiding behind anything." Stevens says. The glorious guitar intro to 'So Far, So Wrong' - which could be quite easily passed off as another old John Lennon demo remastered for the Beatles Anothology - raises the obvious question of influences.

"It's a little more Ringo than John or Paul, bassist Matthew Sigley laughs. " I don't even like the Beatles. I'm the onlyone in the band who doesn't like them, Stevens says, cringing. "It's funny when people say we must have English influences. A lot of songwriting influences for me and Nick is alot of that West Coast '60s pop, The Hollies, Big Star, and my favorite band, The Byrds."

The critics have been won over now it's time for the masses. All fears that the diminutive frontman Scott Steven's voice wouldn'tstand the rigours of live perfromance, are allyed a few songs into The Earthmen's gig. Steven's heavenly vocals transfix the audience while the rest of the band provide the perfect backdrop to most of the pop marvels from the album 'Coloured In', 'Lie Without, 'Love Walks In', 'Hug Me Tighter', 'Whoever's Been Using This Bed', and old classic 'Come to my Senses', and a bixarre cover to finish, 'Rhinestone Cowboy'.

In the final song, Stevens wanders off stage to let the band finish another extended jam, ending another chapter of Australia's best new band.

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