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HAPPY HATE ME NOTS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Scrap EP (Aus. Waterfront) 1987
Out (Waterfront-Rough Trade) 1988

Playing power pop with muscle, this Sydney quartet — sort of a punkier, street-level Hoodoo Gurus — fills Scrap with six spunky songs about love and introspection that are both fresh-sounding and high on buoyant energy. Guitarists Paul Berwick and Tim McKay intertwine and interact — one a warm box filled with enough fuzz to choke a lint screen, the other dripping shimmering droplets of clear, clean shine — in "This Is the Wrong World." Horn (on "Go Away"), piano (on "Blue Afternoon") and choral refrains throughout paint the other songs with frown-proof commercialism that never stoops to please.

Berwick's amusedly pessimistic lyrics ("Things Wearing Thin," "Think About Tomorrow," "Modern Times") and strong rock'n'roll vocals give Out's fast-paced and sturdy tunes, occasionally punctuated by a horn section, a Jam-like intensity. Producer Rob Younger (ex-Radio Birdman) captures the live-and-loud sound with all of the quartet's nuance intact, making Out a robust demonstration of the Hate Me Nots' amazing ability to give songs a wallop without knocking the pop stuffing out of them.

By the end of '90, the Hate Me Nots had recorded an album's worth of new material, with an eye towards '91 release.

[Andrea 'Enthal/Ira Robbins]