If you're looking for aprimer on New Zealand punk, there's pretty much one album that's king above all. Mine was not initially that album, but the later double-disc compilation of music from around the same era by many of the same bands, the Propellor Records late-Eighties release It's Bigger Than Both Of Us. Fantastic stuff, but it only tells part of the story, and is self-consciously a retrospective made at a time when Kiwi music was beginning to find a place in the national consciousness in quite a new way. No, the seminal album is a single disc from an earlier, murkier time, neary ten years older than Bigger, it is of course AK-79. I recently reacquainted myself with it on CD, and I never owned it on vinyl. Feel my burning shame.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The Scavengers:
The Scavengers were very definitely on the melodic end of the scale with Mysterex, and as much again with the equally-great True Love, which was a rare thing being a Kiwi single covered for an Australian audience (The Marching Girls doing the honours.) Certainly ther's an element of influences being well worn here - I can hear some Buzzcocks for one, but I don't care. It's ours and it works, and while NZ Punk was a late-arriving, short-lived thing it was a genuine organic reaction which made an impact, and that's really all it's about, really.
Next time: Back to the Mainland!