(Click on the links in the song titles to be taken to Spotify for a listen)
Ian Rilen, Steve Lucas and Cathy Green made up what was, for this reviewer, the definitive line-up of the iconic Aussie punk band X. Formed in 1977 by former Rose Tattoo bass player Rilen, X was known around the country as a hard rockin' live act - I remember one performance at the Prince of Wales Hotel in St. Kilda where Lucas got a nasty electric shock from his guitar - the reason being the crowd was "going off" to such an extent that their combined heat caused it to "rain" inside! For the record, Lucas finished the set, although obviously in a bit of pain - that's showbiz!
At Home With You, released in 1985, was the second album from X, after the 1979 release X-Aspirations. The album shows two sides to the band - the hard and fast and dirty punk sound that they were known for in their live act was certainly there, but there were also some softer songs, some with horns, which show that X was definitely not a one-trick-pony.
The highlight of the album for this reviewer is Degenerate Boy, a celebration of sorts of the (low) life of rock and roll, sex and drugs included. Ian Rilen's backup vocals add a touch of evil delight to such lines as "last week's dole cheque, up my arm it went". He was indeed a deeply dirty degenerate boy.
Other hard rockin' songs are the opening tune The Feel, with it's harsh guitar line and horn line, the thrashy Oxford St. Nick and Going Crazy showing why X has become an influence to many newer bands.
What is perhaps more surprising on this album are the more "straight-ahead" tunes - despite the throaty vocals and fast ending, Moving On is a classic pop song structure, All Over Now is a great rock tune, and Don't Cry No Tears is a moving love song, with a wonderfully haunting French Horn figure adding what could even be called beauty to this track.
There are some really great moments on this album - great songs, great licks, and great horns. Check it out.
At Home With You is available from iTunes in the original version, or a version with bonus tracks, or from Aztec Records, which is re-releasing lots of Australian Music from the 70s and 80s
Cheers for now, from
A View Over the Bell