How It Works/Plastic Skies

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The fifth release from Australia's punk heroes, How It Works/Plastic Skies boasts a dozen crisp and crunchy tracks all supercharged and swept along by the melodies. Life, love, and the pursuit of happiness are the major themes; disaster and despair are the counterpoints. The quartet may not have the answers, but they do have an unerring ability to get to the core of problems and bring them sharply into focus. From drug addiction ("Feed It") to Columbine ("Falling Down"), breaking up to starting anew, Bodyjar vividly pulls life apart to grapple with the emotions that make lives tick. "Five Minutes Away (When Punk Attack Magicians)" is not an assault on David Copperfield and his ilk, but a seething look at disillusionment, when the platitudes offered up as comfort become no more than hurtful lies. "Ordinary Lives" is about taking chances, a recurring motif, and how life is chance; How It Works delves into life both good and bad, love and loss, celebrating while still recognizing its inherent dangers. The andrenalized music feeds through the songs with big, thumping beats, guitar riffs shredded by Cameron Baines' stop-and-go tactics, and the soaring vocals and harmonies that have just a hint of the '60s about them -- Jan & Dean with body piercing and mohawks. It's a compelling sound that slots nicely into the SoCal scene, but remains uniquely Bodyjar's own. [EMI's 2005 release includes their 2002 album Plastic Skies as a bonus.]

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