Tuesday, July 17, 2007
INXS - Shabooh Shoobah
There’s probably no better example of a band that’s come full circle from my high school days than INXS. Between 1982 and 1986, this Aussie band could be found on my turntable or car, only to be met with the kiss of death label as “uncool” about the time everyone else had caught up to them (87’s Kick).
The fixation started with their 1982 release Shabooh Shoobah, the first INXS album to find a domestic release and the first one to find the band honing their signature sound: Bowie-esque atmospheres welded against Stonesy riffs and danceable rhythms.
Wonderfully sequenced and gloriously timed at a tight 35 minutes in length, the band alternates between post-punk leanings and their Aussie pub-rock upbringings
Lyrically, Michael Hutchence is still finding his own groove here, with more than a few examples (“Here comes my kamikaze/Here comes God’s top ten” –“Here Comes”) of over-reaching or under-achieving, depending on your temperament at the time.
Despite these occasional flaws, he also manages to come up with, count ‘em, two of the decade’s best singles, both of them included on Shabooh Shoobah. “The One Thing” opens the album, with some of the best lines ever penned for such a charismatic frontman like Hutchence.
And then there’s “Don’t Change,” the single that barely cracked the top forty when it should have been a certifiable smash. Perfectly blending synth-pop sheen with a rock edge, “Don’t Change” is one of the best album closers of the decade.
The band would find greater success with each subsequent album; particularly since each one upped the production budget and streamlined the experimentation. And while those releases may be the ones that find greater appeal among more people, Shabooh Shoobah remains the album that had me looking down under then, and looking back now.