Sunday, 19 June 2011

British Jets - Another Day In The City / No News 7" EMI Custom PRS-2890, 1980

Back in July 2010, when we were taking our first tentative steps with this blog, we raved about the killer pop-smarts of the first Beaut single, remarking that the hooks and production were enough to win over even our Cro-Magnon tastes. We also alluded to a counterpoint in the form of the Ramones, contemporaries with whom Beaut shared some Judicious subject matter, but not the same musical "violence". Now, as Wallaby Beat closes in on its first birthday, it's time we came full circle with the last chapter in the Burnette/Cutelle trilogy.

You may also recall Branded, David Burnette and Lee Cutelle's "one step forward, three steps back" follow-up to Beaut, centring on guitars that couldn't decide whether they wanted to be the Sex Pistols or Supernaut (proving that the latter wasn't alone in liking it both ways). Less than a year after Beaut's cloying Why Baby Why? 45, diving headlong into punk rock was obviously too great a commitment. Of course, we're talking about a couple of guys whose first musical collaboration pre-dated The White Album, so taking things slowly was par for the course. True to form, it would be another couple of years before the transition was complete.

Recorded in Sydney as a studio-only project, British Jets' one and only 45 takes the Ramones archetype - downstroke powerchords and matching basslines locked in to furious 4/4 drumming - and infuses it with the familiar Burnette/Cutelle melodic sensibility. (Not that the two were entirely unrelated to begin with. Besides their titles, Beaut's and the Ramones' respective odes to Judy share one important conceptual similarity - both feature three chords, total). Each side is equally strong, delivered with energy, force and conviction, with David Burnette's characteristic lead vocals and Lee Cutelle's harmonies tying it all back to the Beaut/Branded lineage (listen for echoes of Generation Breakout in No News). It's a great single, a genuine two-sider, and in our humble opinion one of the best records you'll hear on this blog. It's a real shame nothing further was recorded in this style.

This was the first Burnette/Cutelle single to appear without the backing of Festival Records, and we'd be lying if we said its self-released, EMI Custom status doesn't add to its appeal. The clout of a "major" label didn't exactly make these guys the household names they deserve to be, and the British Jets single did absolutely zip to advance the cause. We have no idea what became of the pressing, but it is now among the scarcest of Australian punk records. A Sonics/Rarity/Legend trifecta from a pair with razor sharp aesthetic standards - David Burnette and Lee Cutelle, we salute you.

Unfortunately, a falling out meant that this was the swansong for Burnette and Cutelle's creative partnership. David Burnette moved to the UK, and at last sighting was earning a crust leading Richard Simmons-like aerobic fitness classes. As far as we've been able to ascertain, his discography ends here (David, if you're out there, we'd looove to hear from you). Lee Cutelle soldiered on, releasing more records (Trixters, Shy Ones) which are OK for what they are, but the magic brewed with his old foil had well and truly gone. More recently, he and Shy Ones collaborator Kathleen Murphy have moved in a "dance pop" direction with Moonlight Crush. Despite our best efforts, he's singularly uninterested in discussing his earlier bands. Lee, our door's always open...

Another Day In The City [Download]


No News [Download]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A real beauty!

Steve