I Love My Tractor - Cosmic Psychos (Pitshark Records)
If you've seen them you'll know exactly what to expect from a live album by Cosmic Psychos. "I Love My Tractor" is chockablock full of cranky guitars, yobbish vocals, a big backbeat and all-pervading bass.
If it's a history lesson you need, go and Google. Suffice to say that the Psychos are an institution in their home country plus many others and, like the Ramones, their dumb charm is timeless. Line-ups have shifted, members have moved or passed on, but Ross Knight remains the constant, a leering, beer-consuming tour de force on bass and vocals. Their sound is brutal. Fuzz bass and wah-wah guitar are their stock in trade.
These 18 tracks were put down at the Tote in Melbourne in 2012 and you can almost feel the sweat dripping off the venue roof. You won't hear a better live recording and that's undoubtedly down to long-standing producer Lindsay Gravina having a hand in the mixdown and mastering. The band sounds like they might even have rehearsed before this show. What might have been a recording mistake means "Hooray Fuck" is reduced to a fragment but the job's done before then.
Everybody has their favourite line-up (truth be known, the Psychos haven't had that many, down the years) but this recording reflects what you get these days. Which is pretty good. Any concern that the band's energy levels have subsided are put to rest. Mad Macka McKeering's searing guitar work is an expansive delight and Dean Muller from Hoss is as good a drummer as any the band's had.
The track selection pretty well runs the gamut, dipping into recent albums ("Nice Day To Go To The Pub", "Enmore Backender") and reaching right back ("Lost Cause", "Go The Hack", "Custom Credit".) You'd be hard to please if there wasn't something here to bring a smile to your dial. Fuck knows what anyone overseas will make of Knighty's between-song rant about Australian football.
The recent albums have shown a band treading water and a live record's not going to change anyone's mind - but that's also a redundant criticism. The Cosmic Psychos aren't going to change and their fans don't want them to.
Explain the lyrics to "David Lee Roth" at a parent-teacher night? I think not.