Love is a Battlefield of Wounded Hearts - Hard-Ons (Citadel)
Here's where the affair ended, for a time - I never got into the sound of "Love Is a Battlefield…" There were some great songs (or singles) here, for sure ("Missing Me, Missing You", "Don't Wanna See You Cry", "Just Being With You") that were among the band's best, but there was something about the shiny, semi-polished metallic sheen (coming after the confusing "Dickcheese") that pushed this album to the back of the collection.
Where it stayed for many years. Now Citadel has dusted it off, and while it still sounds almost the same, it's time for a reassessment. The short story is that it's aged well, the mastering has refreshed it, sonically speaking, and the bonuses on their own are worth the price of entry. This is a double CD set that's value-plus.
Did anyone know there was a demo version of the album ("Kids In Satan's Service") containing most of the songs in unadorned form? Some band members had certainly forgotten about it until the tapes turned up. It's rawer than a nude roll through a paddock full of poison ivy but bristling with the sort of energy that any band with three chords and its full faculties would kill for.
The 1989 Triple J radio session captured here is one of the best live sets the Hard-Ons have recorded. Two more sets from Geelong and Melbourne in July '89 are sonically rougher but proof this was a band at the peak of its powers.
There are a few oddballs here and that's to be expected; Hard-Ons love(d) nothing better than fucking with people's preconceptions. The impossibly rare Fifth Anniversary giveaway single is here (with the short-fuse "Fuck Off Cunt Features") and there's a demo of Minogue's "I Should Be So Lucky" that will peel paint.
The liners are the usual mix of heartfelt unloading (Blackie), incisive observations (Ray) and pragmatic filling of the gaps (ex-manager Tim Pittman) that puts it all into perspective while serving as a reminder that this is a band that's never recognised other peoples' pigeonholing. The words and the music add up to F.U.N.