Regurgitator – Headroxx
The first new record in five years from Regurgitator comes with absolutely no expectations whatsoever.
The band, who once topped charts, headlined festivals and generally dominated the Australian music landscape have settled into a different space in recent years. Their status remains legendary, but their success is more modest almost a quarter of a century on from their formation.
There’s no denying the power their first couple of records had when we heard them. And there’s no denying how well they have stood up over time. But. when you hear a song as punchy and infectious as Quan Yeomans’ ‘Roxx For Brains’, it’s clear that the band still has so much to offer.
Because, for all their sonic anarchy, all their funny lyrics and unique approach to music and art on the whole, Regurgitator’s core strength was – and remains –their genius pop songwriting abilities.
The power-pop vibes from the aforementioned opener continue in Ben Ely’s ‘Graffiti Is Coming Alive’, though his take sounds a little more Thin Lizzy than the Romantics vibe Yeomans gave us.
The Prince worship that gave them their most enduring hit continues on ‘Party Looks’, this time the band apes ‘Alphabet Street’ and does a pretty tidy job of it. It’s not as gripping as it was 20 years earlier, but it’s a side of them we’re glad they haven’t abandoned nonetheless.
Much as we delight in referencing the clear and unabashed inspiration the band find from other artists, the truth is that it takes a band like Regurgitator – and a core working relationship like that which Yeomans and Ely share – to make it all come together.
The most extreme oddities on a Gurge record are always hit and miss. Here, ‘Weird Kind of Hard’ is misguided and tough to listen to. But the mashed up glitchy hip hop of ‘Light Me On Fire’ and the synth-pop throwback of ‘I Get The Internet’ are the band at their off-the-wall best.
There aren’t many short bursts of disaffected punk this time around, which is always a shame, but the beautifully defiant ‘No Point’ and the sloppy ‘Fortress’ scratches that itch effectively enough.
Headroxx probably won’t return the band to the stardom they once had, but at no point does it sound like that’s the intention. Nor is it an album that will reinvent what we expect from Regurgitator, which is hardly surprising after nine albums. Unpredictability has long been Regurgitator’s most predictable trait.
More than anything, this album shows us that this band remains worthy of our time after all these years. Their earliest records will always hold a special place, but there’s no need to relegate them to nostalgia act status quite yet.