Various Artists

Born Out of Time: The Australian Indie Sound 1979-88

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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

While the post-punk music scene in the United Kingdom sold a lot more records and the indie rock movement in America had a great deal more influence, for sheer output of quality rock & roll it was hard to beat the Australians in the 1980s, whose commitment to lean, tough, high-attitude rock was second to none. Of course, Men at Work and INXS ended up moving a lot more units in the States than the Scientists, the Celibate Rifles, and the New Christs, but by the same token, Loverboy moved more merchandise than the Replacements, and who gets name-checked more? At any rate, almost two dozen great bands from down under get their props on Born out of Time: 1979-1988 -- The Australian Indie Sound, and if you want 76 minutes of proof that the Antipodes were a great place to be if you liked high-octane guitar-based rock, this will do just dandy. Radio Birdman kicks off the set with "Hanging On," an appropriate choice given the band's massive influence and the frequent reappearance of Deniz Tek and Rob Younger on the tracks that follow. Most of the best-known Aussie indie acts of the period are represented, including the Hoodoo Gurus, the Screaming Tribesmen, the Lime Spiders, and Died Pretty, but there are also plenty of fine bands who didn't get the attention they deserved outside the continent, including smart punks the Eastern Dark, tough pop songstress Angie Pepper (aka Deniz Tek), '60s obsessives the Stems, and the Psychotic Turnbuckles, who sound like down under's answer to Redd Kross. Twenty-two songs from 22 bands without a dud in the bunch, Born out of Time: 1979-1988 -- The Australian Indie Sound is a great overview of a scene many folks ignored at the time, and hopefully this will raise the profile of a few of the lesser-known groups on board (and prompt further reissues along these lines).

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