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Askew Review 15

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- Go Down Under (Fat Wreck) Imagine, like I briefly did at first, that this release’s title is actually Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Go Down. How lovely would it be if the world’s greatest cover band did a bunch of songs about oral sex? And what a concept this is: a little Prince’s “Head” here, some Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ‘69” there, a dash of Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey,” and so on and so forth. But what they did instead- versions of popular cuts from some of Australia’s biggest hit makers of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s- works even better than my nonsense scenario. You can also listen to these songs with your mom (provided you’re the type of person who plays punk rock covers for your mother, of course) without blushing.
   Go Down Under is, quite simply, 12 minutes of pure delight (And, come to think of it, do you have it in you to orally pleasure someone for a full 12 minutes? Please discuss). The band turbocharges the hell out of these songs, and even when they play it relatively straight lyric-wise, there’s just something so inherently funny about hearing this material this way that it’s impossible not to smile when you first hear it. Spike’s excellent voice (the key to ultimately being able to cover the wide variety of stuff these guys have done over the years) sounds better than ever and even a bit leaner and meaner than usual. The first- and best- track on this EP is “Never Tear Us Apart.” Me First’s take is forceful, riveting and turns INXS’ original loping groove into a mover of divine proportions. Next up they tackle Air Supply’s “All Out of Love” (yeah, fuckin’ AIR SUPPLY, motherfucker!) and the catchy venom they inject into it even makes the previously vomit-inducing lyrics somehow bearable. The tough edge they add to the Easybeats’ classic “Friday On My Mind” makes it as fine a Track Three (on an EP released this year, at least) as you’ll find anywhere. And did you know that the Easybeats’ George Young is the older brother of Angus and Malcolm Young? And this makes me realize that these guys really did a nice job of picking Australian songs for Go Down Under that they can actually do something with. When I think of Australian bands, AC/DC is the first group that comes to mind, but I just can’t see Me First doing anything this great with any of their songs. Wise choices, indeed…Track Four is a nasty and melodic take of Olivia Newton John’s “Have You Never Been Mellow,” and they close the festivities out with a blistering, joyful version of Rick Springfield’s “I’ve Done Everything For You.” Denis pointed out that there’s a helluva lot similar about the opening riff of this song, which was written by Sammy Hagar of all people, and DOA’s “Fuck You.” And since (we think) DOA’s song came out first, what we have here is (possibly) Hagar ripping off DOA on behalf of Rick Springfield. Lick that, baby. –Ben Hunter



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