She Just Likes To Dance - Screamin' Stevie's Australia (TurkeyNeck)
A few people have a problem with Screamin' Stevie's brand of idiosyncratic garage-soul - and that's fine. You can't please all of the people all of the time and Stevie ain't no choirboy. But it's the fact that sometimes (vocally) this Brisbane veteran can't carry a melody to save his life that's at the heart of his artfulness. Putting this quirkiness to one side, most of "She Just Likes To Dance" is poppy garage prime-time.
And a return to form (see earlier reviews) with better songs: The title track, for example, is as good as anything Stevie's done in his own right or with The Hekawis, with up-front organ and a singalong chorus that kills. "Burlesque Baby" swings on Rustle Smith's adept drumming and Stevie's swirling keys while "Tikki Head" is one playful nose full of snot.
"Alice P.Tokias" abounds in local references and some awkward rhymes but that's, in part, why it has has a charm of its own. Swelling organ carries "Flowers For The Dead" oh so well,while "A Bridge Too Far" sounds like it staggered straight out of Laurel Canyon in 1967 with a head full of acid. CheckoutJack Mulrooney's snaking bass-line anchoring full-blown harp and spacey guitar.
Of course, Screamin' Stevie's Australia (the band) is a good 'un. They've been with their frontman for a while. Mulrooney and Smith are a vibrant rhythm section with warmth and pop smarts and Brian Mann (Headstones, Screaming Triibesmen) is a guitarist whose skilful playing is always interesting.
Mann's thoughtful and uncluttered production is top shelf. THere are only 10 songs on "She Likes To Dance" so they don't outstay their welcome. You'd do to lay out your own welcome mat.