RADIO BIRDMAN Radios Appear (4 Men With Beards)
The 1977 debut album by Sydney-based sextet Radio Birdman is almost a summation of pre-Pistols US punk rock, welding Ramones brattiness (Rob Younger’s vocals especially) to “Raw Power” nihilism (Stooge Ron Asheton even co-writes one song). “Do The Pop”’s blank generator just has to be an Iggy tribute, and the dumb, catchphrase-spewing “New Race” is pure Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee. The 13th Floor Elevators’ “You’re Gonna Miss Me” is covered in savage, slashing style – no electric jugs here! – and “Aloha Steve And Danno” celebrates “Hawaii Five-O” in mirthsome fashion, complete with brutal, Beach Boys-esque harmonies. It’s only on the ominous “Man With Golden Helmet” that they shape their influences into something authentically original, though, its cryptic punchline “He’s the top man in the language department” more like something the future would find on a Wire or Magazine album. Kudos to Radio Birdman for their seamless re-enactment of the scene at such geographical remove, but it’s a shame that “Radios Appear” does so little to push things forward.
4 Men With Beard’s vinyl reissue sounds authentically terrible, being plagued with crackling distortion, a disappointment after the close-to-fine job they did on Milton Nascimento’s “Cluba Da Esquina” recently.