The Manikins

From Broadway to Blazes

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The Cheap Nasties were one of Australia's first punk rock bands, and when they broke up in late 1977, they spawned two great bands. Both bands played a tough, unschooled version of power pop once they were up and running, but only one of them built any kind of career. That band was the Scientists; the other one was the Manikins. Built around the snarling guitar of Neil Fernandes and the rough-and-ready vocals of Robert Porritt, the Manikins released a few singles between 1978 and 1980, all of them made up of hooky punk and shimmering power pop. This collection gathers up their studio recordings and makes a strong case that the Manikins shouldn't have been forgotten the way they were. Songs after song hits like the best down under bands influenced by the Flamin Groovies and MC5, wrapping tender hearts in barbed-wire guitars and basically keeping the flame of rock & roll alive with a minimum of fuss and flash. The singles that come at the beginning are the most immediate songs, jumping out of the speakers with live-wire energy. "Premonition" sounds like a lost power pop classic and the rest of the songs aren't very far behind. Some of the tracks that were recorded later show a little more sophistication and take a minute to reveal their charms, but they point the way to a bright future that never materialized for the group. The past can't be changed, though, and hopefully this long-overdue collection will at least shed a little bit of light on one of the best (deep) under-the-radar bands of the turn of the '70s.