Listen Up: Wednesday, June 19, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
New Christs

We Got This (Smog Veil Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

Back in the í70s, when Rob Younger fronted pioneering Australian proto-punks Radio Birdman, he fixed crowds with a piercing stare while performing as if he were about to explode out of himself with suppressed rage and frustration. Over the past 20 years, heís built a reputation as a producer, doing the honors on dozens of ace Aussie discs, and led the New Christs, an on-again, off-again outfit with a revolving cast of players that reads like an Orstralian rock Whoís Who.

We Got This is, by all accounts, the final New Christs album, recorded over a two-year period just before the band dissolved in welters of acrimony early in 2001. It was recorded on an advance from Mans Ruin Records, an American label that subsequently folded without paying the bandís studio bills. The Sydney studio the musicians were using seized the tapes and the bandís equipment until an anonymous benefactor ponied up the bucks to ransom the gear. The New Christs promptly finished the record.

For all the turbulence that attended its making (i.e., drummer Nik Rieth quit early in the sessions, and guitarist Big Al Creed suffered a lengthy bout of mental illness that put the band on temporary hiatus), We Got This hardly sounds like the work of a band on its last legs. Quite the contrary, it picks up where the bandís last full-length, 1997ís Lower Yourself, left off: an hourís worth of intense, passionate, melodic, Detroit-influenced post-punk rock íní roll. Youngerís lyrics are as acerbic as always, and his voice is that of an angry experienced man. While there are none of the devastating slow-burns that provided a temporary respite from the rave-ups on the bandís magnum opus, 1989ís Distemper (recently reissued by Citadel in Australia), the songs are all, um, killers.


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