First things first – you don’t need me to tell you about the significance of Australia in the history of punk. I mean, what am I, Jon Savage? Google it yourself, FFS. Instead, let’s just agree that the speedy, feral racket thrown together by the likes of The Saints, Radio Birdman and The Scientists in the mid-late ‘70s is AT LEAST as deliriously entertaining as anything concocted by their UK/US counterparts, sowing the seeds for seemingly endless garage-inflected noisemakers in the land down under.
No one likes using words like ‘tradition’ or ‘heritage’ here – the punk rock clusterbomb is far too messy for any of that business – but also emerging from Australian rock’s primordial soup is the addictive sneer of Stiff Richards. Like their predecessors, the band are a gleefully wracked mess of full throttle energy and barrelling power chords, with songs like ‘Kids Out On The Grass’ and ‘Point of You’ proving at least the equal of ‘(I’m) Stranded’ or ‘Aloha Steve And Danno’. Nine tracks in less than 30 minutes, all winners and all determined to leave you flipping over couches and smashing your TV set. And let’s face it, you may as well; there’s nothing good on.
It all builds towards frantic closer ‘Fill In The Blanks’, which rattles around your speakers like the UK Subs trying to play Ed Kuepper riffs at the centre of an earthquake, before grinding to a halt as a voice says, “That’s the one.” Does it sound self-satisfied? Hey, it’s got good reason to – this is the best no-frills garage rock party since Gino & The Goons’ ‘Do The Get Around’, and the only appropriate response is to declare yourself betrothed to Stiff Richards because you can’t imagine your life without ‘em. Don’t believe me? Sort out your ears and get ‘State Of Mind’ in ‘em. Rock’n’roll as it’s supposed to be played.