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Scientists: A Place Called Bad [Box] *

Track List

>Frantic Romantic
>Shake Together Tonite
>Last Night
>Bet Ya Lyin'
>It's for Real
>Pissed on Another Planet
>Shadows of the Night
>Girl
>I'm Looking for You
>She Says She Loves Me
>Sorry Sorry Sorry
>That Girl
>High Noon
>Teenage Dreamer
>Another Sunday
>Walk in the Plank
>Larry
>Making a Scene
>It'll Never Happen Again
>This Is My Happy Hour
>Swampland
>We Had Love
>Clear Spot
>When Fate Deals Its Mortal Blow
>Burnout
>Spin, The
>Rev Head
>Set It on Fire
>Blood Red River
>Nitro
>Solid Gold Hell
>Cried No Tears
>Crazy Heart
>This Life of Yours
>Backwards Man
>Wall, The
>Raver
>Fire Escape
>Hell Beach
>If It's the Last Thing I Do
>Bad Priest
>Demolition Derby
>It Came Out of the Sky
>Atom Bomb Baby
>Go Baby Go
>Psycho Cook Supreme
>Lead Foot
>Murderess in a Purple Dress
>Temple of Love
>You Only Live Twice
>Human Jukebox
>Shine
>Distoration
>Place Called Bad
>Hungry Eyes
>Braindead
>It Must Be Nice
>Happy Hour
>Fire Escape
>When Worlds Collide
>Raver
>Spin, The
>Clear Spot
>Rev Head
>Set It on Fire
>Burn Out
>This Life of Yours
>Solid Gold Hell
>Blood Red River
>Don't Lie to Me
>Have You Seen My Baby?
>Melodramatic Touch
>Slow Death
>Strangers in the Night
>I've Had It
>I'm Gonna Make You Mine
>When Worlds Collide
>Ghost Train
>Other Place, The
>She Cracked

Album Notes

Recording information: Adelaide Unibar (01/1983); Le Tote, Melbourne (01/1983); Prince of Wales, Melbourne (01/1983); Storey Hall, Melbourne (01/1983); Sydney University, Sydney (01/1983); The Loft, Perth (01/1983); Adelaide Unibar (03/1983); Le Tote, Melbourne (03/1983); Prince of Wales, Melbourne (03/1983); Storey Hall, Melbourne (03/1983); Sydney University, Sydney (03/1983); The Loft, Perth (03/1983); Adelaide Unibar (05/1982); Le Tote, Melbourne (05/1982); Prince of Wales, Melbourne (05/1982); Storey Hall, Melbourne (05/1982); Sydney University, Sydney (05/1982); The Loft, Perth (05/1982); Adelaide Unibar (06/1978); Le Tote, Melbourne (06/1978); Prince of Wales, Melbourne (06/1978); Storey Hall, Melbourne (06/1978); Sydney University, Sydney (06/1978); The Loft, Perth (06/1978); Adelaide Unibar (08/06/1983); Le Tote, Melbourne (08/06/1983); Prince of Wales, Melbourne (08/06/1983); Storey Hall, Melbourne (08/06/1983); Sydney University, Sydney (08/06/1983); The Loft, Perth (08/06/1983); Adelaide Unibar (12/21/1979); Le Tote, Melbourne (12/21/1979); Prince of Wales, Melbourne (12/21/1979); Storey Hall, Melbourne (12/21/1979); Sydney University, Sydney (12/21/1979); The Loft, Perth (12/21/1979).

Illustrator: Devlin Thompson.

In 2016, when The Numero Group released the comprehensive box set A Place Called Bad, the Scientists had mostly faded from the indie rock landscape. While their influence was widely felt in the music of the late '80s and early '90s, with bands like Mudhoney and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion following noisily in their wake, a couple of decades after their 1987 split, and despite a 2010 one-off reunion for ATP, they were sort of overlooked men. The box serves as a wake-up call to all the aging noise rockers who forgot how great the band was and a clarion call to anyone who may have never heard them but is in the market for a band whose members play each note like their instruments are on fire. Most of all, it's a vital document of one of the truly important bands of the decade. The set collects their early singles, their self-titled 1981 album, their early-'80s singles and EPs, and the You Get What You Deserve and Human Jukebox albums, plus a collection of live recordings mostly drawn from a 1983 show, though there are a couple late-'70s tracks too.

Fronted by guitarist/vocalist Kim Salmon, the band started in the late '70s as a tough power pop band with some punk around the edges. Their first single, "Frantic Romantic," is a knucklehead rock classic, and their debut album contains loads of ripping guitar solos and a few more genius pop tunes, like the clanging "Last Night." They seemed on a path to be contenders to the international power pop throne, but along the way they took a darker turn. Due to lineup changes, something that always plagued them, and a change in philosophy, their first post-LP single, 1982's "This Is My Happy Hour" is a grungy slice of swamp rock that featured an amped-up bass sound and Salmon ditching the controlled vocals of the past in favor of something loose and feral. It didn't take very long until they basically perfected their new approach: 1983's Blood Red River EP is a crash course on uninhibited garage punk with Salmon raving like a maniac and jagged guitar slashes slicing the air above a pounding rhythm section. It's this basic sound that the Scientists stuck with until the end, refining and expanding on it as they went. The fidelity got clearer and the playing more assured, but they never lost the fire that their first forays into the style exhibited.

The You Get What You Deserve LP is probably their high mark as a group, filled with songs that reach out and grab the listener by the lapels, performances that leave a mark, and a massive sound. Salmon's guitar playing never got any more ferocious than it did here; his work on "Atom Bomb Baby," for one, is breathtaking. On the whole, the music on A Place Called Bad makes a strong case that the Scientists were one of the best bands of the '80s, especially during their swamp noise years. They had the look, they had the songs, they had the sound, and everything they did burned with the white-hot fire that only the very best groups are able to harness. ~ Tim Sendra



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