Under Attack of The Busymen – The Busymen (Swashbuckling Hobo)

under attackJust when you thought it was safe to go back into the psych ward, this sliver of shiny black vinyl arrives out of Brisbane’s sub-tropical humidity, stumbling around like a homeless man in a threadbare coat who's baring his arse for all the world to see.

The Busymen don’t seem to have been living up to their name in recent times because this 10-inch EP is their first release since the “Distort All Levels” album of 2007. Put that down to commitments with other bands or members being detained by the authorities for their own good. They’ve certainly made up for lost time.

Half-covers and half-originals, “Under Attack…” resonates with the brutal thump of a Force 5 hangover after an all-night pub crawl through the seedier haunts of their hometown’s party district of Fortitude Valley. The morning after just doesn’t come any fuzzier than this.

They’re self-described as Brisbane’s most primitive band and how could it be any other way with the bawling Boston Bob on the microphone? His strangulated, unhinged vocal is on a par with that of the obscure but not forgotten David Cortopassi from The Elastik Band’s classic dysfunction anthem, “Spazz”. (Check it out on the “Nuggets” box set, kids, to know this much is true.) Boston Bob’s dinky organ playing is just the cream on the mouldy Macarthur Park cake that’s been left out in the rain.

Guitarist Michael Bolger doesn’t sound so much as he’s wedded to his fuzzbox as having parts of it implanted as chips just like the baddie in The Terminator. The fatal flaw in that theory, of course, is that his output sounds anything but digital. If distortion is a device to hide a million guitar sins, we don’t want to see his rap sheet.

The rumble-and-thump merchants from Screamin’ Stevie’s Australia, Russell Smith (drums) and Jack Mulroney (bass), keep it dead simple. It all works just right.

“Aint No Friend” by The Sparkles is the best-known song of these seven tunes and is rendered in ragged style. “Savage” turns up the distortion levels three-fold with some stinging delay guitar overdubbed for maximum effectiveness. “Louise” sounds like it was recorded bleary-eyed and late in the session with the singalong backing vocal phoned-in from a nearby public bar.

“Evangelist for Rock and Roll” might be both a theme song and a eulogy while the fuzz-and-keys-vamp of “Hostile” might be the last word on acid punk. The Busymen are the backward cousins that The Sonics locked in their parents' attic.

Don’t worry if you’re turntable-challenged – the vinyl comes with a download card or can be delivered online via the link we've conveniently placed below.

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Tags: garage, brisbane, swashbuckling, hobo, busymen

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