What the Media have to Say...
“There’s been no other Aussie record like it.”
(Ross Clelland, The Drum Media)
“There’s so many different flavoured textures scattered throughout the record, it’s near impossible to describe the common glue which holds the whole project together. But, with something quintessentially Australian at its core, it works wonderfully.”
(Dino Scatena, The Daily Telegraph, 5 star review)
Installation is a dizzying cut ‘n’ paste of heady beats, breezy pop, rave-ready pieces and wicked dub.
(Jeff Apter, Rolling Stone)
“An awesome foursome - Antenna is made up of a bizarre assortment of musicians who created an album full of surprises. Take a pub rock icon, an indie groove god and a pair of diehard technoheads, and what do you get? One of the most unlikely musical hybrids the Australian music scene has produced. Their music – a unique juxtaposition of freakish techno tracks alongside hook-laden rock melodies surprised everyone. While the first single ‘Come On Spring’ is an engaging slice of rich melodic pop, another track ‘Paris To Dacca’ is like a walk through a Timezone arcade on Mars.”
(The Sunday Telegraph)
“What Antenna had over other “supergroups” is a stronger set of songs and a willingness to stretch just a little further. This combination of musicians won’t quite fit into the hole allocated for them.”
(Bernard Zuel, SMH)
“A brilliant Antenna proves more attractive than the Manics.”
(Drum Media BDO Sydney ’99 Review)
‘Come On Spring’
“Great this track is available digitally now.”
(Simon Wrinkler, Triple R Broadcasters)
Come On Spring is something of a lost gem. Released in 1998, it was the product of a short-lived collaboration between ex-Scientist/Beast of Bourbon/Surrealist Kim Salmon, chief Hoodoo Guru Dave Faulkner and Stuart McCarthy and Justin Frew of techno/house outfit Southend – the latter best known for their dance floor mash-up of IOC chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch’s announcement that the host of the 2000 Olympics would be ‘Syd-er-ney’.
This collision of alternate musical universes, guaranteed to offend both rock and dance purists alike, produced just one album, Installation, and its remarkable first single, Come On Spring – a lovechild of disparate musical styles that sounds as fresh and vital as the season it describes.
Rising from a winter’s sleep
Coming right up from the deep
Shallow pleasures beckon me
Here’s my new life set me free
Salmon’s opening two-note melody cuts across the understated guitar and lilting rhythm of the drum loop, his restrained vocal delivery becoming more insistent as we approach the chorus:
Come on spring, do your thing
What’s your story?
Come on spring, do your thing
You got something for me?
By now he is pleading with the elements, cajoling nature to oblige and bring forth the sort of renewal that love or sunshine or even a new band can deliver – a desire that anyone who’s endured a long, cold winter could attest too.
Salmon says the song began life as a chord progression inspired by Serge Gainsbourg’s Bonnie and Clyde: “Something with shifting chords with a constant note giving a suspended feel.”McCarthy and Frew suggested pairing it with a drum loop they had been sitting on for a while. Against the odds the two parts fitted together perfectly.
With Faulkner out of town, Salmon was left to his own devices. He played it to his girlfriend who remarked that it had ‘”the feeling you get at the end of winter when you’ve had enough and can’t wait for it to be spring.” That was enough to inspire him to write the verses but little more. He went to bed without a chorus. “The next morning when I woke up,” he says, “I went straight to the tape player, pressed the button and said to myself ‘Come on spring, do your thing’ and realised that I’d just unconsciously written the chorus.”
Despite not having been there for its inception, Dave Faulkner’s influence on the song is significant. His ‘Mamas and Papas’ style backing vocals provide one of the song’s strongest hooks and his elegant string arrangement serves as an important foil to McCarthy and Frew’s sequencers and samplers. Faulkner also brought a critical eye to the writing and recording overall. For Salmon, who was used to working more freely, it was a useful lesson.
“I learned a lot. It was probably more to do with details than the big picture, but the details do make up the big picture… I’ve always been one for broad brush strokes and not really putting much of a finish on things. That approach is appropriate for The Scientists and The Beasts of Bourbon of course but, there’s more to music than just being primal. And let’s face it, you can’t argue with all the hit records Dave’s had.”
It could be said that Antenna represented a ‘new life’ for its members, and in particular for Faulkner who had instigated its formation following the break-up of the Hoodoo Gurus after many years together. The band and the song made a splash, but without mainstream radio play and solid distribution the album was destined to fall between the cracks. By the next year their brave experiment was over.
For those like me who cut our teeth on the Perth punk scene of the late 70s, Come On Spring was the answer to a question we had asked long ago, back when Kim Salmon and Dave Faulkner presided over the nascent scene like royalty, Salmon first with The Cheap Nasties and later The Scientists, Faulkner with his band The Victims. On more than one occasion I can remember travelling home from a gig with my friends pondering just how great a group boasting both of them might be.
(Phil Kakulas, The Melbourne Review, August 2012)
Phil Kakulas is a songwriter and musician who plays double bass in The Blackeyed Susans.