Elysian Fields - The Stinkbugs (Swashbuckling Hobo)
A tip for young players: If you want to be popular in the mainstream, don’t name your band The Stinkbugs. Call yourselves The Beetles. Or Beatles, even. Putting it bluntly, stinkbugs stink. Even after you’ve squashed them. No good can come from a pungent odour, even if posthumous.
Don’t ask how this Brisbane band took on the moniker The Stinkbugs or why they named their third long-player “Elysian Fields”. Of course, they'll never be written up in The Courier Mail or asked onto 4BK for a polite chat. And that album title is a reference to the place in classic Greek mythology where heroes went to die. Is this a case of being overly self-referential or just some high-spirited lads getting getting revenge for being kept in after their Ancient History class? You be the judge.
“Elysian Fields” is 12 tracks of typical Stinkbug goodness: Fuzz guitar, sludge bass, plodding drums and ethereal vocals. A little loose, for sure, but unmistakably the work of a psychedelic power trio from the back-blocks of deepest, darkest Brisbane. If you liked their earlier records, you won’t fall out of love on the strength of this one.
The wah-wah drenched “Stop Stop” is the pick of the litter with its heavy bottom-end, drop-outs and barely contained rifferama. Rusty Bug on drums is the new member of the trio and keeps things more or less anchored while Tigerbug (bass and vocals) and Mantis (guitar) go about their work.
Some of these songs go to sone strange places with either the bass, the guitar or sometimes both wandering off the reservation. Therein lies the charm. Huh? Put it this way: IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE STEELY DAN.
If you have no idea what “Ameles Potamos: is about you’ll b non the wiser after all that backward masking. It’s enough to send a man to Hades.
A dishonourable mention, too, for “Just Colour”, the blaring shot of distorted psych that opens side two - shades of the Psychotic Turnbuckles crossed with a faint echo of the first album Stooges.
“Elysian Fields” isn’t a record for philosophers. It’s a slice of raw black vinyl that deserves to be played at stun volume. It’s not pretty but neither are stinkbugs. It's on vinyl or can be downloaded. Whatever format, don’t play it around sensitive children or small animals.