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EXPLODING WHITE MICE (Buy CDs by this artist)
In a Nest of Vipers EP (Greasy Pop/Big Time) 1985
Brute Force and Ignorance (Aus. Festival) 1988
Exploding White Mice (Ger. Normal) 1990

Taking their name from Rock'n'Roll High School and most of their sound from Rocket to Russia, this Adelaide quintet has done its damnedest to be Australia's own Ramones. But while the familiar song skeletons and Paul Gilchrist's Joey-esque delivery are in clear debt to the brudders, the Mice add a distinct garage element (credit Radio Birdman), especially on the early recordings.

The six-song In a Nest of Vipers swells with raucous bareback guitar energy and catchy pop-rock tunes. Covering "Pipeline" provides some contrast to the Ramonesy "Burning Red" and a hard-rocking rundown of Bo Diddley's "Let the Kids Dance." While the other originals are fun but forgettable, "Dangerous" caps the EP off with a varied scramble of raunchy guitars.

Brute Force and Ignorance evolves that hit-and-run freestyle spirit into more of a late-'70s pop-punk sound, replicating the Ramones' light touch with clinging choruses and obvious progressions (as on "Worry About Nothing" and "Bury Me"). Faster cuts ("Uninvited") really spotlight the Mice's adrenaline-soaked sizzle.

The studio side of Exploding White Mice contains such memorable tunes as the pogo-speed "Intuition" and the aptly titled "Do the Crunch"; the live side displays more of the Mice's raw power than any of the group's studio work.

[Marlene Goldman]