Just to prove it isn’t Strictly Ballroom, it’s the girls who steal the show
on this soundtrack from the newly released tap-meets-testosterone extravaganza.
There’s lots of machismo in the male-fronted pub and grunge rock tracks from The
Living End, You Am I, Grinspoon and co, but none have more impact than Deborah
Conway’s Radio Loves This, or Leonardo’s Bride’s Even When I’m
Radio Loves This has been out for a while, and I’m not sure it’s quite lived
up to its name, but it deserves to. Turning up the heat from her often sedately folksy
outings, Conway emotes over a driving back beat and gritty guitar riffs, to find an
appealing niche between the blues of Wendy Matthews and the bite of Natalie Imbruglia.
Neither Matthews nor Imbruglia make a contribution here, but Conway does have a
symbolic sister in Leonardo’s Bride’s front-fem, Abby Dobson. Dobson’s
voice fluctuates between dreamy breathiness and soaring abandon on a world-class slice of
melodic pop. Radio genuinely has had an on-going love affair with Even When I’m
Sleeping; and so have I.
Like these two representatives of fair dinkum Aussie Girl Power, most of the blokesy
rock on this record is compiled from tracks released within the last couple of years. For
the most part, they’re boots-and-all power numbers with enough grunt to cover for the
lack of subtlety.
Occasionally, there’s even a hint of imagination – the oddly dissonant
pizzicato that punctuates Custard’s Hit Song, and the bass and brass bursts that
colour You Am I’s pungently pleasing Junk.
Cooling down the tempo is Icecream Hands, who serve up some stylish folk-rock with
their titillating Nipple. And four new compositions, written specifically for the film by
Cezary Skubiszewski (Two Hands, The Sound Of One Hand Clapping), fit the mood like a
comfortable singlet and jeans ensemble. As does the first single, SupaSkuba’s
Giveway, to which he contributed.
The only real let down is Tap Forge – a boots-tapped-for-sound finale that comes
across as a bit of a wimp-out after the fabulous racket these guys made at the Olympic
Nevertheless, if you like your Ozi-rock with lotsa guitars and few frills, you’ll
love this CD. You can bet your boots on it.
Published: October 5, 2000