Brisbane band Ups and Downs were an indelible part of the paisley revolution in Australia in the eighties – drifting in the slipstream of The Church but along with bands like Crystal Set, Falling Joys and the Hummingbirds forging their own brilliant expression of jangly, chiming pop songs (see their fantastic track ‘The Living Kind‘).
Having reformed recently and released a best of compilation ‘Out of the Darkness – Sleepless, Singles and Other Stories‘ and new material in 2017’s ‘The Sky’s In Love With You‘ , the band has released an EP of covers – songs that they loved from the eighties delivered in the band’s own unique style.
The cover to the Ep is a delight. As Darren Atkinson explains:
The girls on the cover were fans of Ups and Downs back in the late ‘80s and used to follow us around to gigs and send us presents. On one occasion they sent us a package that had photos of them dressed up as us, taking the piss out of various official promo shots.
It’s a gorgeous collection of well-chosen tracks from bands that have influenced them and contributed to their sound. The band members have listed why these tracks were chosen and how they have covered them:
(1) Are You Receiving Me – (XTC, 1978)
“XTC have influenced all of us over the years. Are You Receiving Me is a classic exploration of isolation and breakdown in communication. We kind of slowed it down and twisted it around a bit.” – Alex
(2) Independence Day – (The Comsat Angels, 1983)
“It’s one of those touchstone songs that helped the band define its sound in the early days. It’s been part of our repertoire since just about day one. Its dark and angular nature continues to cast its shadow over what we do.” – John
(3) Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime – (The Korgis, 1980)
“It’s a beautifully sad song that continues to haunt me to this day. We’ve even iced the cake by getting a bona fide rock star, Rick Springfield, to play lead guitar on it. Rumour has it that Ups and Downs are Rick’s second favourite band after The Church and I’m OK with that.” – Greg
(4) I’m In Love With A German Film Star – (The Passions, 1981)
“We were early Passions fans and used to play this song live regularly in the 80s. We even used a photo of their album cover in our psychedelic live slide show. It’s a song that still moves me nearly 40 years after first hearing it.“- Peter
(5) Outdoor Miner – (Wire, 1978)
“We started playing Outdoor Miner live in the late ’80s. I have no idea what the lyrics are about, yet the song is almost heartbreakingly melancholic. Wire have always been able to find beauty among the noise and chaos.” – Darren
A fascinating tribute to some very diverse bands and music. You can get the EP through here or listen via the link below.
Ups and Downs are:
Greg Atkinson – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, bass guitar on ‘Independence Day’
Darren Atkinson – drums, backing vocals, lead vocals on ‘Outdoor Miner’
John Flade – guitars
Peter Shaw – guitars, keyboards on ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’
Alex Ronayne – bass guitar (except ‘Independence Day’)
Rick Springfield – lead guitar on ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime