Get Shitfaced With The Onyas & Six! - The Onyas (Swashbuckling Hobo)
Some re-issues are blatant money-making efforts and others are a public service. Think of these two as the latter. They’re both on vinyl. No digital downloads.
Dismissing The Onyas as a sub-tropical, Johnny-come-lately version of the Cosmic Psychos does both bands a disservice. Both bands are still going (The Onyas sporadically) and share a member in John McKeering (aka Mad Macka). You might say him joining Cosmic Psychos was inevitable. Some have.
Both bands share an Oz rock yobbo sensibility and taste for high-speed punk, but The Onyas sounded punkier and seemed to strip the sound down further (if that was possible.) They didn't have a fuzz bass and personalised their songs to reflect everyday things in the Brisbane scene that had birthed them.
“Get Shit Faced…” sounded desperate when it came out on Au Go Go in 1996. Desperate to be heard, a band desperate not to be stuck in the relatively small pond of Brisbane’s often strangulated scene any longer.
With the brotherly engine room of Richard Stanley (bass) and Jordan “Jaws” Stanley (drums) in lockstep and the (then-much smaller but still substantial) presence of Mad Macka on guitar and vocals, they were a relief from the twee pop and cliched grunge that was still all-pervading.
Every song on “Get Shitfaced” packs a punch. A couple blend into another, but that shouldn’t be a detraction because it’s more a virtue. There’s enough meat on these bones to get you chewing into next week. “Weapon”, “I Love Girls”, the stammering “Mrs Deacon” and the tongue-in-cheek “Hit By A Tram” (that one perhaps the only self-consciously Psychos-like track) hold up against anything else released at the time.
Only “Now It’s Gone” comes close to pop - and that requires some imagination. It’s probably the longest song, too.
The whole LP has been remixed and remastered by Mikey Young - so you know it sounds better than the original.
Fast forward two years and “Six!” was in the record store racks. The Onyas had escaped Brisbane - they’d chalked up European and US tours - and if the world wasn’t their oyster it was probably visible in the bottom of their glass of Forex.
“Six!” has a clearer but no less punchy mix and, at times, the pace is even more furious than its predecessor. Tracks like “When Size Matters” and “Hard To Want” are amazingly tight and furious.
Recorded on a Euro tour, it sounds harder than its predecessor and undoubtedly reflects a band that was match-fit with thousands of kilometres under its belt. A dash of thin keyboards (notably on “The Last Of The ¡Atope! Sticks”) adds another element but The Onyas remain The Onyas and never stray far from home base.
Songs? If you'te a fan you'll know them and have your own opinion. There are two sides to "Six!" and they're labelled "Six" and "Out".My vote goes to the ones on the "Six" side.
It all sounds great: Mikey Young’s tweaked this one in the mastering (only he or the band could tell you what’s different) and it’s on vinyl and plays at 45rpm.
1/4 - Get Shitfaced With The Onyas