The catchier and more rocking Divinyls stuff
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 01/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How's this for an evenly distributed greatest hits album? Four singles each from their three albums. That's what you get with The Essential Divinyls, a collection of the Divinyls' 80's material, whose harder-edged punk/rock hybrid is oodles better than their insipid breakthrough single "I Touch Myself." The Divinyls, led by Christina Amphlett, she of the rough and raucous voice, were yet another group of talented Australians, but who did not make it in the US the same way Men At Work and AC-DC did."Pleasure And Pain", from their second album What A Life! is the first I heard of them, and the polished sound is courtesy of Blondie producer Mike Chapman, who also wrote this song with Holly Knight, with the provocative refrain "Please don't ask me how I've been getting off." Those powerful but kittenish/rough vocals going into how it's a fine line between pleasure and pain, and it's all the same" and collaborator Mark McIntee's guitar work introduced me to them.The title track to their third album Temperamental is a more rocking affair, although as the liner notes say, "they were too accessible to be called heavy metal, too raw to be power pop." This and the rest of their album was produced by Mike Chapman and mixed by Bob Clearmountain. The second time I heard a Divinyls song was their engaging cover of "Hey Little Boy" originally "Hey Little Girl", also on Temperamental. Amphlett's vocals have a soft, impish undertone once moment, other times she yells out "I'm talking to you!"The melodic and mid-paced "Back To The Wall" is another favourite here, highlighted by Amphlett's vocals and Mark McIntee's ringing guitars. The sense of desperation concealing a suppressed rage is evident here: "I've been running back all my tears just so the pressure don't show/like a timbomb ticking away/I might blow up somebody" and "don't push, don't shove/you'd better watch what you do." Also from Temperamental.A more punkish sound comes in another catchy favourite, "Only Lonely" underscoring the sense of alienation and loneliness, "wondering could we get involved?" This was one of the songs here featured in the 1982 Australian movie Monkey Grip, directed by Ken Cameron, which not only had a supporting role for Amphlett, but yielded her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Australian film awards. Dating attitudes come through in this song: "You say, come on baby. not on the first date. so I say OK baby, how long must I wait?" and "and if it doesn't feel right, when I put you down, oh baby it's all right. I am only lonely."The title character in the slower-paced and moody "Punxsie" exhibits a sullen lonely attitude: "such a punxsie thing, you don't talk to strangers."The rocker "Boys In Town" from Desperate has an intense trapped sound, highlighted by Amphlett's pleading "Get me out of here" refrain at the end, the backing band singing "too much too young", and a great guitar solo. This was the other song featured on the soundtrack EP for Monkey Grip.The naive schoolgirl tone of "Science Fiction" from Desperate is a catchy mid-paced song, with the title referring to the line "I thought that love was science fiction." There's also a trace of Cold War thinking: "I never thought it would last this long/I thought they would drop the bomb." The other Mike Chapman-produced song from What A Life! is the longing fantasy "Sleeping Beauty", a nice mid-paced guitar number.Taken from Desperate, "I'll Make You Happy" is a cover of the fellow Aussies The Easybeats from the 1960's, and the insistent pounding drums and the McIntee/Amphlett combination give this a more punk sound, and is a great way to finish the album."
Daniel J. Hamlow | 06/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although INXS, Icehouse, Midnight Oil, and Men at Work (just to name a few) proved to be the more successful of the australian 80's acts, Divinyls still remain one of the better ones. Although they didn't really make it big in the US until the early 90's, their early work remains their best. Songs like "Boys in Town" and "Pleasure and Pain" (both of which were small US hits) help make this compilation a must for any 80's fan."
Classic Divinyls material
Daniel J. Hamlow | 02/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you loved the self titled Divinyls,cd,check out their classic stuff on this excellent compilation of their work at Chrysalis records! "Make you happy"."Boys in town",and "Pleasure and pain" are among the delights!"