In their hearts there’s still a place called swampland… rumor has it that it’s nine part water and only one part sand…
By Fred Mills
Bluntly put, the Scientists were Australia’s greatest rock group, ever—and we say that a massive Oz rock fans, whether we’re talking punk stalwarts Radio Birdman, world/psych/folk rockers Midnight Oil, power pop mavens the Someloves or even recent arrival Datura4 (the brainchild of the Stems’ Dom Mariani and You Am I’s Greg Hitchcok—listen to a stream of their debut album HERE or read Michael Toland’s review HERE). Yours truly has been a fan ever since I encountered a copy of their first album, issued in ’81, in a store in London in the mid ‘80s, and I’ve remained a fan of their hard-hitting, blues/skronk brand of primal rawk post-punk, not to mention a devotee to co-founder Kim Salmon and all his subsequent post-Sci projects. Celebrity fans include Jon Spencer and Thurston Moore, and no less a tastemaker than Sub Pop saw fit to release a wonderful anthology, Absolute, in ’91 for the Stateside audience as all of the group’s records had been either Australian or European imports.
Over the years Salmon has marshaled the occasional Scientists reunion, notably the All Tomorrows Parties festivals in 2007 and 2010, typically with a lineup similar to the mid-period Scientists, and now we learn that he’s resurrecting the original Sci lineup for a pair of shows in Melbourne and Sydney. Concurrent with that, Numero Group is planning to reissue both The Scientists debut and the 1983 mini-album Blood Red River.
According to Numero Group’s product page:
“The Scientists’ charging anthems centered on themes of young love and alienation. Obvious in its rebellion yet more pop than punk, the self-titled “Pink Album” deftly embodied the tough-yet-danceable outsider aura of The Ramones, and its unheard of, feverish clip shook the shores of the geographically confined Swan Coastal Plain of down under.”
“Blood Red River [was an] album that would define their unmistakably swampy, psychotic aura. These six songs revisited band leader Kim Salmon’s interest in the Cramps and the Stooges, while adding in the repetitive dementia of Suicide and elements of cow punk twang, with Salmon’s distinctly unrefined Australian accent snarling tales of lust, confusion and angst.”