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Jaws of Life
Hunters & Collectors
Jaws of Life
Genres: Alternative Rock, World Music, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

2003 reissue of the Aussie alternative act's 1984 album. 15 Tracks. Liberation.


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CD Details

All Artists: Hunters & Collectors
Title: Jaws of Life
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Liberation Music Oz
Original Release Date: 8/5/2003
Re-Release Date: 8/18/2003
Album Type: Import
Genres: Alternative Rock, World Music, Pop, Rock
Style: Australia & New Zealand
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 766489034423, 766482750849


Album Description
2003 reissue of the Aussie alternative act's 1984 album. 15 Tracks. Liberation.

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CD Reviews

My Favorite Album of All Time
M. L. Johnson | Auburn, AL USA | 01/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I know that's a bold statement, especially since we music fans only usually consent to narrowing it down to our top 10, but, if the proverbial gun were held to my head, I'd have to pick this one. And that's the way it's been since I first bought this on cassette (released by Slash Records here in the U.S.) way back in 1984. A few years ago, I was able to obtain this version on CD via a website which specialized in importing hard-to-find music from Australia and New Zealand into the U.S., but I am happy to see it re-released here so that it may potentially infect a wider audience. A (hopefully not too boring) note on discography: The proper Jaws of Life album begins with "42 Wheels" and ends with "Little Chalkie"; the last 4 songs were originally released on the Payload EP in 1982 (and also appeared on the original A&M Records release of their eponymous debut album, along with "Talking to a Stranger"). These are also excellent tracks, but are more in the vein of funky (albeit disturbing) dance numbers and have a different feel from the rest of the songs. For maximum enjoyment, my suggestion is to play these first and then go back to the first track. This will put things in chronological order and leave "Little Chalkie" as the proper dramatic conclusion to the whole thing.

Now on to the music itself. I can only describe this as some kind of alien form of experimental punk rock - with a horn section! This has about the most sinister sound of any music I've ever heard, driven by unrelenting bass lines and tribal drum beats, and punctuated by a distorted, quasi-bluesy guitar and bizarre synthesizer intrusions. Horns would normally add some relief and lightness, but here they just add to the weirdness and are in no way similar to what you're used to hearing in, say, ska music and the like. Then, there's Mark Seymor's amazingly gritty voice! Early on, many critics suggested that he look into the potential benefits of throat lozenges (it does indeed sound like he gargles with nitric acid as part of his daily routine), but I think his raw vocal stylings fit the mood perfectly. Also, as much as I enjoy this, it's not a party record! The pictures it paints of alcoholism, failed love, revenge, life on the road, the hopelessness of life in a dead-end town, and general despair and anger are unflinching and harrowing. It seems to portray a pretty bleak view of life in small-town Australia; but, now that I think about it, perhaps not too much more bleak than life in small-town America. As an American, it's odd that I would consider this my favorite album, because I don't quite understand all of the slang used, but I somehow seem to get the gist anyway. For example, I don't exactly know what it means to be holding down a "D", but it sure doesn't sound pretty! It's not complete black-upon-black darkness as there are cracks in the clouds afforded by the brutal humor. It's not really uplifting either, unless you consider the occasional moment of clarity experienced by terminal drug addicts to be uplifting.

This thing's been with me for 20 odd (and I do mean ODD) years now, and it never fails to creep back into my CD player once a year or so; and it never fails to thrill me just like it did that first time I heard that diesel engine cranking. I will never fail to be haunted by "Hayley's Doorstep", I will never fail to empathize with the drunk in "Carry Me", I will never fail to bust a gut at the crazed sexual imagery of "Betty's Worry" or "Holding Down a D", I have felt the weight of the road in "42 Wheels" and "Red Lane", and I have had to deal with growing up in the claustrophobic, red-neck town of "The Way to Go Out" and "Little Chalkie". I will never be free of this music."
The Best Album Nobody Ever Heard
B. Pardue | Burlington, WA United States | 09/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Whenever I get into conversations about the best albums in my collection I always mention this one and I've yet to meet anyone who has ever even heard it. Everytime I play it for someone new they can't believe how good it is. I had this on vinyl when it was new and it was one of the first CDs I bought when I changed to digital. Out of the 1500 or so disks I have collected this one stands out by far as among the best. If you heard Hunters And Collectors' later music, when they almost broke through commercially, and dismissed them, I can't argue. Their later albums were too commercial and too contrived to be any good. They were trying to sell records and it didn't work.

Jaws of Life is the exception. It's noisy and it's raw and it's messy in all the right places. The songs are outstanding. They are 1000 times better than anything else they did. Deep bass grooves, choppy guitars, raw vocals and a horn section! There's nothing else like it. Think of The Birthday Party with a horn section and some soul. They even had the good taste to cover Ray Charles and make the song their own. It's hard to describe and it doesn't matter if I get this review right because no one will ever read it.

This album is doomed to be the best album no one will ever hear. Oh well, I heard it."