Keep It On Wax: Massappeal – Nobody Likes A Thinker
Calling all audiophiles! This one’s for you. The vinyl revival is well and truly upon us and now’s as good a time as any to raid your parents’ collection and dust off the turntable. Stay tuned for our verdicts on the latest and greatest pressings.
Nobody Likes A Thinker
Gatefold 180gm Red & Grey Splatter Vinyl
Back in the day, when a young person felt, angry, excluded and disenchanted with the world around them, they didn’t whinge about it on Facebook. They grabbed a guitar, called their mates, and started tearing everything apart with searing screams, wailing riffs and utterly manic drums. It was called punk, and one of the best bands to come out of the Waterfront Records generation (look it up) was Massappeal. Their debut full-length, Nobody Likes A Thinker, has finally made its way back to vinyl since it first hit shelves in 1986.
Old-school ’80s hardcore meets sludgy stoner meets classic hard rock meets snot-nosed Aussie kids who want to rip bongs between songs, it’s the kind of record that appeals to the juvenile delinquent inside all of us. Not that it’s immature, Thinker… just taps into that primal urge to tear shit up and laugh at things like people wearing suits on steamy Sydney days while you strut around town in a pair of cherry red DMs. It looks great, it sounds great, and it’s the perfect opportunity for fans to relieve the glory days, and for youngsters to sink their teeth into Australia’s outstanding punk history. Chaotic, controlled, cathartic. Peter Zaluzny – 5/5
WHAT DO YOU GET?
What don’t you get. Every inch of this gatefold LP looks like the pages of a mid-’80s teenage misfit’s/would-be graphic novelist’s school diary. It’s littered with beautiful black and white, hand-drawn, highly detailed anarcho-skater artwork, with a bunch of old gig posters reminiscent of pre-digital photocopier days scattered throughout the spread. Someone grabbed the chaotic mind of a disillusioned kid, dipped it in ink and rolled it around on paper, exhibiting social commentary, deep-seated frustrations and an anti-authoritarian attitude. A kind of frenzied expressionism born in isolation from the “mainstream” that’s angry, violent, amusing and exhilarating. Inside and out, Nobody Likes A Thinker is gritty, unrelenting and in your face – just the way punk should be.
Slipped into the gateful is a massive, double-sided 30x90cm insert with even more art, previously unreleased live shots, hand-scrawled lyrics and a huge, two page bio penned by vocalist Randy Reimann, detailing the early history of the band and the story behind their debut record. The history, the design, and little gems tucked away like contact details (firstname.lastname@example.org – do people still use Hotmail?), Thinker… is an amazing little time capsule of mid ’80s to ’90s Aussie punk, and music presentation in general. When was the last time you picked up a record, only to become completely distracted by the artwork? The LP is available in three colours: red and black splotch, red and grey splatter, and the delightful sounding vomit green. It even includes a 7-inch single called “The Bar Of Life”, with two bonus songs pressed on black and orange vinyl in a full colour sleeve.
But that’s just the basic package. Shell out a little more and you’ll get a goodie bag that comes with an exclusively designed T-shirt, postcard-sized reproductions of vintage gig flyers, stickers, a badge and a denim band logo patch made by guitarist Hexenbrett. There’s just 300 of these kits on the planet and 50 of them have been signed by the man behind Thinker’s… striking artwork, Ben Brown. Scoring one is just the luck of the draw.
HOW’S IT SOUND?
Brilliant. There’s a fine line between capturing a messy punk sound and using punk as an excuse for a poorly produced record, and Thinker… falls firmly into the first camp. Despite fuzz, crackle and dirty distortion, the record never stutters or maxes out, and it still exudes the gnarly aggression and energy of a bunch of youngsters completely throwing themselves into the music. Listen closely and you can hear the studio stacks screaming for mercy. Clear, vibrant, powerful and potent, this is as good as punk production gets.
Yes, including “The Bar Of Life”! Now you can up the punx wherever you go, unless you want to listen to “Rat In A Hole”, which isn’t there for some reason.
This is a no-brainer for Massappeal fans, but anyone who’s into old-school hardcore punk needs to toss this into their record crate as well. Thinker… is an important piece of Australian heavy music history that could have been lost to the ages, and the reissue has been crafted with the kind of care to reflect that. The music is amazing, the package goes above and beyond – this is the best possible release that Massappeal fans, and the band, could ask for.
Nobody Likes A Thinker is out now through Desperate Records.