[feat Mick Harvey and guests]
'The Wallbangers is a loose project
devised by The Bad Seeds' Mick Harvey where he can vent his spleen in relative
obscurity. 'Kick the Drugs' is the band's first EP and the title track is as
much a celebration of the substances in question as it is a plea for people to
desist with their abuse of them. Lyrics on other songs have been co-written with
old comrades Tex Perkins & Loene Carmen and as a rhythm section Harvey has
resuscitated Rocky Features (drummer on Lydia Lunch's 'Honeymoon in Red) and
introduces Rod Bottoms on bass'.
The Dwarf – Melbourne
Drugs is the debut EP from
new band The Wallbangers. Before I say anything else, I shall say that
the CD features the best picture I’ve seen in a long time. It is simply a
picture of a creepy man with a beard tiptoeing along on all of his thirteen
legs. Imposed in black on a red background, it takes me straight back to my
Monty Python and ‘Coles Funny Picture Book’ upbringing. Hooray for the weird,
creepy and comical!
Wallbangers are a sort of grungy, garage-rocky, indie type of music, sounding
vaguely like I imagine Queens of the Stone Age does when the listener is high.
Formed in 2006, the band is the project of Mick Harvey from Nick Cave and the
Bad Seeds, and he is steering the music. As one can expect, it is strange, but
has some interesting innovation and a few searing riffs. These might just work
to pull the band out of obscurity. Then again, the annoying guitar droning and
muddy editing on all songs apart from the title track might just keep it there.
features just four songs, all of which are listenable-to on the bands MySpace.
The clear winner of the songs is title track Kick the Drugs. The tune
features a nice, repeated winding guitar hook, and listing lyrics talking about
drugs and what they do – the sort of lyrics that you listen to until you have
them memorised partly because it sounds so interesting, and partly so you can
quote them at your friends (or is that just me?..). All the other tracks have a
few interesting ideas, but the afore-mentioned muddy editing and annoying
guitars ruins it for me. Still, the potential is still clearly seen in Kick
The Drugs. Check out their MySpace and see what you think!
I-94 Bar –
like some Melbourne-via-London underground rock royalty game of one upmanship,
this: Nick has Grinderman and Mick has The Wallbangers. Lazy comparison it may
be, but there are undeniable parallels.
Wallbangers live on the same welfare housing estate as Grinderman but instead of
lounging around the back verandah, drinking pre-mixed bourbon and complaining
about middle-aged spread and a lack of pussy, they're busy in the garage getting
down and grimy while working on a re-birthed car. Both on the dole...different
output..same delinquent streak.
When not tinkering with a re-bored 356 Hemi, Mick Harvey is of course Nick
Cave's musical right arm, a multi-instrumentalist, arranger extraordinaire and
solo artist in his own right. While Grinderman allows Cave the chance to wallow
about in the mud like a rock pig and wear a shit-eating grin, The Wallbangers
are the side project that affords
semi-anonymity and a similar degree of fun.
a four-track EP and most prominent among the collaborators is Tex Perkins, who
vocally tackles the title track like it's an end-of-tour post-mortem on a
train-crash Beasts of Bourbon tour (which it could be except Harvey wrote it.)
It a straight-up guitar kicker, a bit preachy but still pretty cool.
There are three more errant children to like. "Sex Appeal" gets along on a
cast-iron metallic guitar line and a seething vocal. "The World Keeps Spinning
Around" casts you adrift in a buzz of guitar that's positively Beastly in its
own weary tone, while "Love Assassin" (in which Carmen Loene had a writing hand)
rides a bubbling funk bassline and more (jagged) guitars and grows with
This was originally a Bang! Records
7" EP from 2007 that's now well out-of-print so do two things when you wind up
reading this: Score a copy from Spooky and keep an
eye out for a promised follow-up EP in 2008.
- The Barman
RTR FM - Perth
Well, Nick Cave has gone and got himself a minimalistic rock side project with a
sense of humour so why not fellow Bad Seed Mick Harvey, too? The Wallbangers is
quite a different prospect to Grinderman though, steeped more in the long and
fine tradition of Melbourne garage blues/rock sludge than some kind of mid-life
crisis experimentalism. The Beasts of Bourbon spring to mind and it’s not
surprising considering that Tex Perkins collaborates here, as does fellow
Melbourne songwriter Loene Carmen.
The tracks are simple and raw, with a dirty lo-fi sound and sly lyrics. Hearing
Tex preach about the dangers of drugs and alcohol on the title track – sample:
“Drinkin Beam is just for rednecks – Too Much beer is for the henpecked” – is
wonderfully perverted and the definite highlight of the EP, although Sex Appeal,
co-written with Perkins, also has its sleazy charms.
Clocking in at only 13 minutes, this EP is all over far too quickly and
definitely leaves you longing for more, which is apparently on the way in the
new year. Hopefully Mick can also get The Wallbangers out on the road at the
some stage because you can’t help but feel that their music would be best
experienced boozed up late at night in a grimy pub.
Magazine - Melbourne
it that the frequently lethal Harvey Wallbanger cocktail can be traced back to a
Californian surfer named Harvey who, after a particularly poor surfing
performance, retired to his local bar to recuperate in concert with his
favourite brew, a screwdriver with an unhealthy dose of Galiano. Some many hours
later, Harvey bounced violently off the walls of the bar as he stumbled off into
the night – Harvey Wallbanger, they called him.
Another Harvey – Mick Harvey, a musician revered for his musical, rather than
drinking, abilities – lies at the centre of The Wallbangers. They’re Harvey’s
latest musical escapade, comprising Harvey and a gaggle of supporting actors,
including Tex Perkins and Loene Carmen.
Listening to the title track of Kick the Drugs – and, more importantly,
reading the brilliant lyrics – you could be forgiven for thinking Harvey has
only now allowed himself a moment of catharsis to purge himself of pent-up
hatred for his fellow punk rockers who’ve drunk, smoked snorted, tripped and
injected their way into pharmaceutical oblivion. But whereas the average
reformed LA rocker errs on the side of insipid piety in describing their wicked
ways, Kick the Drugs is a gutteral garage rock track that demonstrates
that it’s possible to just say no, and kick some fuckin’ serious ass.
And then you’ve got Sex Appeal, co-written by the institutionally sexual
Tex Perkins, hopefully with his tongue in his cheek and not loitering around a
hitherto unexplored groin region. The World Keeps Spinning Around should
be the companion piece to the opening track, as the narrator tries, and
regularly fails to grasp reality while his mind fights for supremacy with
whatever natural and unnatural toxins loiter in his head. Finally there’s
Love Assassin, closer in style and theme to Tex’s Sex Appeal, but with a
grinding garage soul feel that sends shivers down your spine in expectation of
imminent sexual excitement.
For all its irreverent look and feel, The Wallbangers are a grindingly good
musical experience. Tighter than Tex’ Axeman’s Jazz era stovepipes and
heavier than the yoke carried by Harvey for his band mate’s excesses, Kick
the Drugs is the record the Beasts of Bourbon failed to make last year.
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'Kick The Drugs'
Harvey and Tex Perkins