Perdition - Not Just Another Anthology (Reactor Records)
Punk rock from Adelaide? No. This is a actually great little pop record.
Take the CD’s opener, "Nothing For You". If it weren’t for the times (of buzzsaw fuzz guitar) and the haircuts (ok) you’ve got yourself a tight, fast, witty and pointed powerpop outfit.
Perdition is, in fact, a classic example of a band persisting over the years, developing from a scratch this and see kinda punk outfit to … well, whatever they are now. The CD’s in chronological order, bringing back horrified memories of flying bodies at the front of the stage. God, was that me?
I will be honest, by the by. First time I was dragged to see the Skunks (Perdition’s predecessor) I groaned aloud but, there being nuffink else to do except mischief, I was duly presented in front of the flying skins (Skunks meant ‘skins and punks together’ - great idea, only trouble was no-one wanted to be around the more lunatic skins) and the punching band.
I won’t say I was hooked, I wasn’t. But hearing the tapes did it alright. And I recall seeing Perdition a few more times while they were about.
So hearing this is kinda a blast from the past. But it’s incredible how immediate the recording sounds, fresh and clean and razor-sharp. Yeah, you could cut yourself here, on Mark’s vocal alone.
As everyone knows, I guess, I like very little punk, especially bands who use all those early harsh black and white images, cod-gothic writing and all the rest of it. But there were so many dozens of these types of bands in early 8ts Australia. The quality showed in the live gigs; apart from local thugs Fear and Loathing and Perdition, there were interstate bands like Vicious Circle and Permanent Damage (the latter were like being kicked by large men while on a broken roller coaster). Small wonder they were on the bill supporting the Dead Kennedys in 1984, along with the illustrious Grong Grong.
Very few punk bands are able to develop. Fear And Loathing (see above) go from gutter to gutter but there’s always a common thread through the big monster truck rally they’ve become. Political? What polly argues with a monster truck rally?
"Life of Pain" (brings back memories of Butler’s mantra ‘life is pain, you will learn’) is a classic ripped-jeans and headbutting classic. Looking for Red Lights - hell, you can imagine this one on Countdown (er, praps with a guest presenter). Ditto "Everyday", great little song. "Open Your Eyes" is blistering.
This isn’t a best of thing, either, it’s a suck it or drop off creature. By the time we get to songs like "The Last Hour" a Husker Du comparison is not too farfetched. There’s a glorious rush about the band, songs ripping past like a Tornado tearing that huge sheet of calico in the sky. Fair melts your fillings. And the lyrics are crystal, not some blurred Bluto-bellow. Which means, like the best 7ts glam rock, you can sing along… and believe me, I have seen this at gigs…
We’re looking at most of several vinyl releases here, with a couple of tracks from those early tapes. "A Positive Alternative" (1983), "Intoxicated" (1984) and 1985’s "How to Teach Your Budgie to Talk" all feature here, along with a few more from an unreleased lp. If you’re a hardcore Perdition nut you already have all this, but no, most of us don’t have quite everything. And this CD is excellent driving music. Hearing all this pouring from the speakers, in a tearing hurry to get into your head, is an education. Ever hear every Husker Du release back to back? It ain’t quite like that, but Perdition deliver an enormous thrill.
Apart from a belly-bouncing good time dancing around, the CD is worth purchasing simply for the title of the second-last song. No, don’t cheat, buy it you cheap punk. Fuck this is great fun. You know all those weeds who swear by Green Day? Stick ‘em in Perdition’s audience. Right to Fight seems to go right back to those lovely skinhead days. No explaining to some people.
Perdition are the real thing, they toured Vic and NSW several times thirty years ago and have been doing the same over the last three years. If you’ve not seen Perdition, make a damn effort. They’re tuffer and more full-tilt than ever before. Sure the line-up’s changed. People get lives, have kids and all that. But the mainstay, Mark Hayes, is as extraordinary as ever before. He’s a full-on performer.
Think I’m twatting you? He’d give Rip Hood (nee Savage) a run for his money.
In fact, that’s a gig I want to see, Rip if you’re out there. See if you can blow Perdition off-stage.
If nothing else, you know you want to meet a bloke whose last name was a popular item of men’s apparel in the 1960s.
Polonek. God, I hope he made that up.