Sunday, 23 September 2012

News - I'm So Confused 7" Missing Link MLS-14, 1980

Back when we only listened to punk rock there were just five Australian powerpop records that would get turntable time around here - the Numbers/Riptides' 77 Sunset Strip, The Scientists' first, The Marching Girls, The Zorros and this puppy. 

News' third single, fourth if you count the Babeez, contains perhaps the purest pop song amongst all of those, I'm So Confused. It's a brilliant track with strawberry melodies, the requisite self-doubt about a girl in the lyrics, and a downtempo bridge lifting to a powerful finish. It's also another example of piano being used to good effect in early Australian punk (see Leftovers, Fun Things, Just Urbain). That Girl is a fast-paced and somewhat demented new wave track, lent a certain uniqueness with an analogue synth solo and count-ups in two languages (to eight, mind you).

In some ways the pop slant was no accident. While political, buzzsaw punk dominated the band's early sound, there was more than a nod to pop as well. As retold at the excellent Babeez/News website, (well worth starting at page one and reading the whole thing), "revved up" bubblegum covers had appeared in News' set quite early on. 
People step on our toes, as the Fraser Government has; but we're not going to take it lying down, we're going to fight back. But, we want to keep it Pop!
The end of the first phase of the band started with John From The Suburbs' departure to drum for Crime and The City Solution. Things started to fall apart with Julie Relentless also leaving and Jarryl Circus following Kim Fowley to L.A. Around the same time they had recruited a second guitarist in Russell Urban (né Irvine). 

Singer Adam Five took Urban and grabbed some new members in Kim Morton on bass and Limp Member (Dorland Brey) on drums. Gigging solidified the band and then Missing Link offered them the chance to record a single at Richmond Recorders with Tony Cohen. Prior to recording they added a keyboard player from the Carlton scene, Graham Lewis. Keith Glass and Ross Wilson provided backing vocals.  The single eventually sold 1500 copies but after an East Coast tour with mixed results the band called it a day.

Five continued to make music but as the quality went down he had the decency to rename the band, slightly, to New 5; unlike Chris Bailey who should have considered the Saint 5, or the Shit Saints, or something equally apt.

I'm So Confused [Download]

That Girl [Download]

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Anonymous said...

I remember being confused when I bought this 45 because it was so different to the first two News singles. I like it, but thanks for putting it into context. And thanks for the link to the website.

bikeboy said...

Thanks so much for re-upping these. At last I've got mp3's of all Babeez/News singles, given that my record player isn't working!