Dung Australia - Cosmic Psychos (Timberyard)
Australian trio the Cosmic Psychos is fast filling the yawning void of relentless punk rock consistency left vacant by the Ramones' departure. Which isn't to say they're a replacement for Da Bruddas, by any means, but If The Song Ramones the Same, then Psychos Never Sleep. Expect no quantum leaps with "Dung Australia", their first long player in a year, and you'll be happy as a pig in, er, dung.
In fact, you could just as easily put on any of the band's output since "Self Totalled" (the one where they really came to grips with their own studio sound) and be hard pressed to work out which song belonged where. That's reassuring in one respect 'cos no-one else is doing this strand of punk rock so well. (I'm avoiding the Yob Rock tag because it's lazy.) Bottom line is that the Psychos are what they are and are too fucking old to change. So no flute solos or prog rock.
Of course things other than the music have moved on since 2005's "Off Your Cruet", the album that marked the band's reactivation after nine years of no recordings. Guitarist Robbie Watts has tragically passed away, leaving vocalist-bassist Ross Knight the last man standing. Mad Macka from the Onyas has slotted in a treat on guitar, mining the same stylistic ground but retaining his own sound.
Speaking of stylistic ground, Knighty still growls like a thirsty drinker at chucking out time in an over-regulated country pub, and when that fuzz bass starts blurting away on "20 Pot Screamer" like your grandfather's spinchter the morning after an all-night nursing home laxative party, you know this is a Cosmic Psychos record.
"Follow Me Home" is a treacle-thick bowl of guitars and good old Aussie vernacular ("She's looking beaut/Maybe a root/There's a swag in the back of me ute") guaranteed to flummox anyone from outside Terra Australis. At least they'll make sense of the wonderful, uncurling Mad Macka solo. If fact, those solos are on almost every song so if they like that one, there's plenty more to enjoy. "Goin' To Hell" and "20 Pot Screamer" are pretty well par for the course Psychos rave-ups, which means they're not pretty to listen to but pretty effective. Fans wouldn't have it any other way.
The Psychos have always had a soft spot for an Oz rock cover and they do a ball-tearing job with Buffalo's alpha male anthem "I'm a Skirtlifter Not a Shirt Raiser" (complete with Robbie Watts solo - obviously recorded when he was alive for those asking the question.)
Part of me always wants the Psychos to move on. Another shrugs and realises that it isn't possible. So, no surprises here, and if you like it be warned there's another album apparently mostly in the can. The more things change...