Tombstone b/w Revolution – Proton Energy Pills (Outtaspace)
You can’t replicate the past but you sure can borrow from it. Two founding members of ‘80s Wollongong upstarts Proton Energy Pills have teamed with three younger players to lay down some of their old band’s unrecorded songs and the results are satisfying.
As predecessors to Tumbleweed and the vastly underrated Brother Brick, the Protons lit a fuse under their hometown and made righteous noise on the national touring circuit before falling apart. Three decades on, there was never an intention to release these recordings and their progress to completion was stymied by various health issues. After hearing the fruits of their labour however, original members Dave Curley and Stew Cunningham (he of Leadfinger) thought: Why not?
Curley sounds like he means every bit of it when he declares: “Got a messed up head and a tombstone heart” on the A side. The guttural tones of Cunningham and Johnny Turcunskis’s guitars cut through the middle of the mix, and the engine room of Grant Lawrence (drums) and Brett Hottes prove up to the task.
The fluid guitar runs on “Revolution” have a waspish sting to their tail and there’s a naïve charm to lyrics about being prisoners of our sense of fun. While nobody’s about to take to the streets with a flaming torch and start throwing bombs unless they’re a rabid anti-vaxxer, the sentiment of needing to take some sort of action to recover good times rings true.
Mo Mayhem’s mix and Lawrence’s production guidance pulled together disparate parts to sound cohesive and strong. Yes, it's unapolgetically back to the '80s with nods to some obvious blues rock influences. If you sight the band live, they will be under the name Not The Proton Energy Pills but who cares what they’re billed as when it sounds so good? Expect a full-length album.