The Scientists


The Scientists Negativity LP

Australian post-punk legends return with their first full-length since 1987. Fuzz on fuzz on fuzz in these rockers, combining swampy leads, proto-grunge freakouts, feedback, and Kim Salmon’s inimitable voice. Standout tracks abound, but here are a few: “Outsider” has an awesomely nasty guitar tone and a punk-blues riff that Jack White would pay a few of his millions for. “Naysayer” takes us through the slime with a track that would pair nicely with their contemporaries, the GUN CLUB. “Safe” has hand-claps and call-and-response vocals that call back to the earliest, rawest rock’n’roll and pulls the rug out from under Jon Spencer’s whole shtick. “Magic Pants” begins with a gorgeously warm distortion that cycles over a rolling 6/8 rhythm. “Moth Eaten Velvet” slows it down with a quasi-ballad complete with slide guitar and strings. Salmon suavely intones, “Faded glory / Still has stories / No one cares for history.” Negativity proves him wrong with a record that rides the classic/fresh groove and is a welcome return. If you like dirty rock’n’roll, this is wholly enjoyable. Dear SCIENTISTS, please don’t wait so long for the next record.

The Scientists Not For Sale: Live 1978/79 2xLP

The recent SCIENTISTS reissue blitz has been a bit crazed, but it’s hard to complain about seeing so many records by these all-time greats in the bins again. As advertised in the title, this release captures the savage young iteration of the SCIENTISTS via a couple choice live recordings. The sound is uniformly great—no hiss-fi gunk-covered cassette rehash here, just top-tier documentation, more than I ever expected to hear outta this early incarnation of the band. The originals (“Last Night,” “Frantic Romantic,” “Shadows Of The Night,” and on and on) are all present and performed with formative fervor, while the many cover selections (most notably those by FLAMIN’ GROOVIES, the obvious touchstone for them at this early stage) all help paint a hot-pink portrait of the pre-swamp version of the band. Very well done release to boot: gatefold sleeve, extensive liners, colored wax. Recommended for completists and the curious alike.

The Scientists Heading for a Trauma LP

A compendium of this Aussie band’s material between ’82-84. Their slower tunes appeal to me the most, down and dirty a la STOOGES with lots of guitar noise. Those tunes that approach blues a la NICK CAVE leave me fairly cold, but they are a minority on this release.

The Scientists We Had Love / Clear Spot 7″

This 45 from Australia’s SCIENTISTS is a fine new example of their distinctive fusion of influences from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. “We Had Love” is a mini-classic with sneering CRAMPS-ish vocals, a pulsating rhythm, and a wall of feedbacking guitars in the true ’60s tradition; the less-impressive B-side has a garagy post-punk structure and some nifty slide guitar.

The Scientists This Is My Happy Hour / Swampland 7″

The acknowledged leaders of the Sydney psychedelic revival scene. The SCIENTISTS seem to have more influences than just ’60s music, thought, as I detect a bit of BIRTHDAY PARTY and the CRAMPS here. Each song starts out kind of slow and plodding, but just when you think it’s not going anywhere, ka-boom!! That idea goes right down the drain in a mind-boggling whirlpool of leafy musical sewage. It’ll definitely grow on you.

The Scientists Blood Red River 12″

Oh boy, six more tracks from these guys. Though none of the songs here grab me as much as the two on the single, all are still worthwhile. They’ve got a European tour in the works, so they may be the next Aussies to be heard on our shores.