Sunday 6 May 2012

Double O's - Music Set Us Free 7" EMI Custom 13422, 1983

Like our old pals the Flying Calvittos, the first single by Sydney's Double-O's depicts events which have shaped the Australian psyche. Thirty years later, it's interesting to see how the front cover's snapshot of Australia-wide goings on c.1983 has lingered in public discourse. Last month saw the retirement of Bob Brown, founder of the Australian Greens, who spearheaded protests against Tasmania's Franklin Dam. In February, a fourth coronial inquest considered whether Azaria Chamberlain was taken by a dingo in the Northern Territory. A few years ago, a popular television mini-series dramatised the machinations of the marijuana mafia in Griffith, New South Wales. And shark attacks are as salient as ever, though in 2012, it's not South Australia but Western Australia that has inherited the reputation as one of the world's most dangerous travel destinations.

Many of these events inspired worthwhile music. Most famously, imagery of Queensland as a police state can be found in Razar's Task Force (and less famously, in the logo of the Peanut Republic label). Dingoes and pork pie hat-wearing Griffith crime bosses as subject matter for Australian punk are stories for another time. But all of that begs the question: How did the Australian cultural landscape filter through in the music of the Double O's?

Well, if the cover's iconography is channelled here at all, it's via Victoria (Bitter) - fun, carefree surf-pop, the soundtrack to a sunny beach barbeque over a few beers. The two songs featured here are catchy '60s-inflected pop with overtones of the era's prevalent garage influence, but fall just short in delivering on the requisite "power". Remember, we're hard-arses when applying that term. We're even more hardline when it comes to ska. Wallaby Beat is a ska-free zone (Nasty Nigel doesn't count), and keeping it that way prevents us from posting the EP's two remaining tracks.

That stylistic lapse in taste made the Double O's perfect candidates for the dreaded Method label. A later song (We Can Overcome) can be heard on Method's Sounds of Sydney Vol. 3 LP. The second Double O's single has been posted in full over at My Life's A Jigsaw; there you'll find details about band membership and a brief history. Our only addition to the story is to quibble with the existence of a third 45. We've uncovered just the two, but as always we welcome evidence that proves us wrong.

Oh, and for the record, our VB-fuelled barbeques are more like this.

The Point [Download]

Surf 'n' Sand [Download]


bristolboy said...

Hmm - I've just re-read the e-mails I had from Phil Sharrock & I may have misread some info he wrote. He mentions the recorded compilation track but not that it was released as a 45.

He did mention though that when "We Shall Overcome" was released the words were painted on a road wall at Harbord and someone added the words "our ego's!"

Also some members went on to become the "Gold Tops"

I've more trivia if you want it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Great surf music.