lethal mercenariesForeign Insurgence - Lethal Mercenaries (self released)

Once you get past the homespun production, “Foreign Insurgence” is a handy slice of garage punk Rock Action.

It’s a mini-album by Lethal Mercenaries, a band formed seven years ago by Charlie Lethal - aka Sydney musician and onetime I-94 Bar scribe Simon Li - and some local underground luminaries.

Simon is Hong Kong-born, Melbourne-raised and Sydney domiciled, so his influences are varied. He’s also a product of Melbourne’s musical training ground, Rock and Roll High School, and a slavish devotee of that city’s late rock royalty, the Powder Monkeys.

LI’s solo output is quirky folk-county but he’s played in plenty of bands including the bluesy Fringe Dwellers, roughneck country outfit Dave Favours and the Roadside Ashes and punky The Balkan Grill. Simon plays drums, guitar and sings in Lethal Mercenaries with Stephen Frosoni (“Slash and Burn Steve”, ex-The Men From U.N.C.L.E., The Light Brigade and Glen & Glenda) on guitar and Geordie McBain (“Dr Gelignite”, also ex-The Men From U.N.C.L.E., The Balkan Grill and Hell Crab City ) on bass.

Charlie Lethal wears an outsider tag with pride on these eight songs. The pick of the bunch are the opener “This City”, the Sunnyboys-on-angry-pills “Rulebreakers” and the Dictators-tinged “Down on the Ground”. That last one’s reprised as a bonus track on my review copy with explicit lyrics, just in case the message didn't get through.

Frosoni’s relentless guitar is all over the songs, while McBain’s bass is solid but buried in the mix. The box-like drum sound is hard to ignore, and you can’t help thinking that a hard-headed mastering job would have made a difference to the overall sound.

“Foreign Insurgence” is available as a digital download from Bandcamp.