Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sharp Toys - Nuclear Daisy from Goldfields Rock LP Goldfields Records MA 12304,1980

Before the Cosmic Psychos, there was Rancid Spam. That's some crucial science we learned from the new Cosmic Psychos documentary, Blokes You Can Trust, screening in all discerning theatres around the country. Rancid Spam featured a teenage, pre-Psychos Ross Knight plus - according to Knighty - the two other punks in the small town of Kyneton, rural Victoria. Along with some cool happy snaps, the film also shows a tantalising glimpse of a 1977 Rancid Spam demo tape. Surely we can't be the only ones wondering what treasures might be found on that cassette. The fine fellows at Aarght are giving the early Cosmic Psychos records the reissue treatment - perhaps they might be persuaded to look into it.

The last of those records, Go The Hack, is notable not only for featuring the best Australian song ever to sport a D-beat, but also for being the last release by the line-up with guitarist Peter Jones. Jones was soon replaced by Robbie "Rocket" Watts, allegedly after an audition at which Watts blew up two amplifiers. You won't often find us quoting Ian McFarlane's Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop, but his conclusion that the change in personnel didn't alter the Cosmic Psychos' sound might be the most insightful analysis in that book. Yup. Watts had previously played in I Spit On Your Gravy and the Quivvering Quims. And, before that, Sharp Toys.

Um, who? Just as Rancid Spam included the only three punks in Kyneton, Sharp Toys must have been the four biggest freaks in neighbouring Castlemaine - the kind of freaks Rancid Spam would have beaten up as a matter of general principle. Among said freaks were Robbie Watts and older brother Rex. The only trace of Sharp Toys' existence is a handful of tracks on a 1980 compilation LP, Goldfields Rock, released as a fundraiser for community radio station 3CCC-FM in Castlemaine. Of the four songs, Nuclear Daisy is our favourite, a world away from the wah-drenched fuzz-storm of the Cosmic Psychos, but even at this early stage Robbie possessed a nimble set of fingers and the song really opens up when he rips his solo. A song-ending explosion wins brownie points, too.

There are a number of places on the web where the remaining tracks on this LP can be heard, so we'll leave interested readers to explore that for themselves. On second thought, we'll direct you to the Rock On Vinyl blog, which tells us of the band members that "I suspect they didn't go onto bigger and better things". Hmm, perhaps Rock On Vinyl should stick to cutting-and-pasting its information directly from Wally Beat [sic].

Nuclear Daisy [Download]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This song grows you on; sounds like they'd been listening to a lot of early 70s bands like Company Caine.

I love the Psychos, but only saw them once, mid-80s at the Punters Club in Melbourne. The stage was about six inches off the ground and we were standing about two foot away from the band. A good spot for checking out their technique in playing such classics as the opening segment of Hendrix's Purple Haze; not the song, just the first bit. Great. We talked to the band later and I remember Ross Knight saying he would be buggered by tomorrow night because he had to spend all the next day on a tractor (or was it a bulldozer?) at the farm