wally meanie - The I-94 Bar

Covering all the bases with Ash Naylor

Emma Jane Johnston evenMatthew, Ash and Wally are Even. Emma-Jane Johnson photo.

Ask any Australian fan of hooky powerpop who they rate and the answer will almost inevitably include Even, the Melbourne institution that’s been a fixture on the Oz scene since forming in 1994. Fronted by  singer-songwriter-guitarist, Ashley Naylor, with Matthew Cotter on drums and Wally Kempton (aka Wally Meanie) on bass and backing vocals, they have just released their eighth album, “Down The Shops”, and it's reviewed here.

“Down The Shops” is a beautifully presented, vinyl collection of covers Even has released down the years. Ever since working up a rocking version of Badfinger’s “No Matter What” in their early mid-‘90s days playing the pubs around Fitzroy and St Kilda,  Even have usually had a cover or two on the go. And they weren’t adverse to working up a load of them; they did "Even Jukebox" performances every year at Melbourne’s Cherry Bar.

Don't monkey around with this, Meanies fans

bad bad barrelBad Bad Barrel of Monkeys - The Meanies b/w Goodbye Man - Glenn Richards + House of Bassinet - Snout (Fantastic Mess Records)

Just a stab in the dark here, but it’s likely that anything on a short-run seven-inch single by Melbourne institution, The Meanies, will sell out faster than toilet paper during a second wave of Coronavirus. So the parable at the outset is: Don’t snooze unless you want to lose. 

This is the latest in a run of limited edition singles by The Meanies. The good news for fans is that it’s available today. The bad news is that it’s only one song, with the B side devoted to songs by related acts Glenn Richards (of Augie March) and Snout. Two guests on the flip is how the series runs so it shouldn't be a disappointment. 

“Bad Bad Barrel of Monkeys” is catchier than the aforementioned Coronavirus with simple lyrics, a hooky refrain and a snaking guitar line. It’s instantly likeable. The B side plays at 33rpm and shudders into life with “Goodbye Man”, a steamy psych rocker preceded by a curious snatch of studio babbling. Glennn Richards plays everything. Snout’s “House of Bassinet” is swampy yet percussive pop and just as good, with subtle instrumentation and a rightfully credited whistling line. Buy it here.

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