Various - Chainspotting - Australian Punk (Cover Artwork)


Chainspotting - Australian Punk (1998)


This compilation could be so much more than it is. I don't know if the bands themselves got to choose which of their songs went onto this disk, but if they did, the majority of them must have been off their fucking heads at the time.

It breaks down like this: 22 Tracks by 22 different Australian punk bands. Wallet chains were just ending their 5-year stint of popularity, and Trainspotting was still considered a cool alternative movie, hence the awful name.

The first track is by The Living End, who had risen to fame during their time backing up The Offspring in their '96 Aussie tour. I went to the Horden show of that tour and The Living End were shouted off the stage. They sucked then and they suck now. The track they have on this album is a cover of 'Tainted Love'. I'd rather listen to that fool Marilyn Manson do this song than these double-bass wielding try-hard punks. Not a good start to the compilation.

Next is MYC with the song 'Mid Youth Crisis'. This is an awesome track and makes up for The Living End's crapness. It's fast and you will be singing along to it even though you can't understand a word of it. Trust me: "It's a something crisis calling you todaaaaay. blah blah blah spray paint car wash. I got no something and my life is so fucking plaaaaain." Ah yes. Unless you know MYC you'll feel a little miffed here.

Now, track three is Oddball with ‘doormat'. It's fast and pretty darn good. Never having heard of Oddball before I have no point of reference here, so I don't know how it stands up against their usual stuff.

Track four is everyone's second-favourite sell-outs, Bodyjar. They may have been good at one stage, but that has been erased from memory since their run-in with Pepsi. Okay, the song is bearable, but it's like every other goddamn Bodyjar song (and they ARE all the same), and thus totally un-memorable.

No Reason is up next, with ‘Saviour Song'. It's extremely formulaic, but wouldn't you know it, I like it. Yes, I even surprise myself on occasion. Kind of slow and amateurish, it still shits all over most of the other tracks on this CD. I have a theory that there are so many punk bands with names beginning with ‘No' (NUFAN, No Use, No Fun At All etc.) because they all want to be near NOFX on alphabetically sorted record store shelves.

Bantha Fodder bring up position 6. The song is annoyingly titled ‘Amphetamarines'. Yes, very clever guys. Want a medal? Pity the song blows. Well, it is okay I guess, in a kind of annoyingly try-hard retro-punk-pop way.

Frenzal Rhomb (these guys are everyone's favouite sellouts, just for the record) come next with ‘Ship of Beers'. I cannot explain how much I hate this band. They live near me in Erskinville and they piss me off all the time. They are such idiots. There was a time when they ruled the Aussie punk scene with (amongst other things) the Home and Away theme. Yes, this was '98, before they had totally disgraced themselves, but dammit, they gave away their crappy car in a commercial music network (channel V) promotion. Nothing can forgive that. Oh, the song is okay, but absolutely TYPICAL, REPETITIVE, and UNORIGINAL frenzal.

Buzzbomb are eighth with ‘fight or flight'. It's fast, it's manic, and it's quite good, if a little… unoriginal shall we say.

Toe to Toe have ninth spot with ‘Tear it Down'. I'll tell you… I have tried to like this band, I really have. But I don't. I don't dislike them, and I can see their music for what it is: fairly original and it fair tears along, without being repetitive. I can't place my finger on it, but it doesn't do it for me. This song is pretty much bog standard TTT.

Caustic Soda are tenth with "Like a Day". I'll tell you what, these guys ruled my world for about six months. They have the sort of instant-accessibility which many bands envy. Unfortunately, it also means they don't stay interesting for long. This song is fairly typical of their body of work. It never retains the same beat for more than 15 seconds. It has the feel of twelve short songs stuck together (like NOFX's ‘Remnants' but not as good). The slow bits should be annoying, but they work. Overall, it's quite good, and one of the picks of the CD.

Game Over are 11th with ‘Sci Fi'. This song sounds like it was a joint-venture between One Dollar Short and Bodyjar. If that appeals to you shoot yourself now.

Twelfth are the gods of comedic punk, NANCY VANDAL. These guys were brilliant in their day. This track ‘Bikini High Pool Party Massacre III" is pretty good, but by no means their best song ever (that title goes to ‘death metal song'). Kind of similar in attitude to most of Machine Gun Fellatio's songs, it's awesomely simple and very catchy.

Track 13 gets the ‘best song on the CD' award. It's by a band called Blister, and the song is ‘Windsor Beaver'. It's got good lyrics, and a crackingly rapid beat, combined with great singing and a great overall sound. It's completely derivative, but I like it for what it is.

No Idea (yet another NO band, see?) with ‘Hey Punk' They have a hard act to follow and they fail miserably. Lyrics like ‘hey punk: get a haircut' and ‘suck my dick' are obviously attempts to make them be seen as serious punks. It just makes them look sad.

Mindsnare… Well, they could have picked a much better track to put on this CD instead of ‘What is Mine'. It seems like they don't know exactly what the song is supposed to sound like and so settle for just going fast and confusing everyone. If you are into very hardcore hardcore you'll like it.

180 Discord are 16th with ‘Black Arts'. It should suck, it has all the pre-requisites, but it manages to come off as one of the better tracks on the CD. It's hardcore with a softer, gentler side. Is there such a thing as pop-hardcore? It doesn't seem to know when to finish though, and meanders towards the end.

Crank offer us ‘Don't Care' for no. 17. They are like Frenzal should have been. Good. Similar sound but it manages to actually sound like effort was put into it.

Track 18 – ‘99 Reasons Why' play ‘Sheep'. Why is this hardcore ska (what else can I call it) bastard hybrid on this CD? Piss off and go back up the Porkers.

Crettins Puddle, ‘See Your Smile' is next. Despite being unable to spell, the members of this band manage to write good (well, sorta) songs. Very cali-punk offering here. Fast but poppy. Like One Dollar Short before they turned to liquid shit.

Dogbuoy are 20th with ‘Youbgod'. Ummm… it's rap-punk. Ummm… they have decks. Ummm… they blow.

Beer-Goggles leads us back from that odd detour with a fast little number called ‘I Love You Beer'. It's understated to begin with, with heavy bass and very punk vocals. It dips in and out of slightly poppy cali-punk bits, but holds together nicely. It gets runner up.

The CD finished with an insane fast deranged song called ‘Sir' by No Grace (that's the third NO band, see?). It goes for about 30 seconds and is pretty good while it lasts, but is ultimately a poor choice for final song.

So, what does all this mean? Is the CD good or isn't it? Well, in my opinion you get ten or so sub-standard tracks, about 7 average ones, and only five good ones. Is this a good buy? Well, if you only got the 12 un-shit ones, then yes. Even though it retails for an average of 20-23 bucks, it's still worth it to get a slice of the Aussie punk scene from four years ago. All the major players are there, despite some poor track choices. As an advertisement for Aussie punk it fails because there is so much shit in there, but it does show diversity. I was going to give it a 6, but I think it JUST scrapes in for a 7. And I'm being nice.