EPs and Vinyl
Between the Silver Rails / Miranda 7"
In celebration of the launch and success of the Album,'Storm of Years', a double A side 7" of album favourites, Between the Silver Rails and Miranda was pressed in very limited numbers on black vinyl.
By mid-1994, a well-toured Avengers again found themselves back in their hometown with enough spare time on their hands to make another record. Kombi fatigue notwithstanding, in the post-Emma world ,the recording experience had now taken a decidedly more professional turn. Armed with Phantom's blessing and the burgeoning proceeds of back catalogue unit-moving, the Avengers linked up with rising studio wunderkind Lachlan 'Magoo' Gould at Red Zed Studios to put together a bunch of songs that had been thoroughly road tested in the band's recent excursions. Magoo (a future ARIA winning producer and veteran of some particularly propulsion-challenged Avenger road trips) proved to be just the man for the job.
The end result of the sessions - the Dragonfly EP - must rate as the most technically proficient (both in terms of musicianship and production values) of the Avengers' CD releases. Dragonfly effortlessly encompasses the Avengers recipe of acid drenched grunge, psych-pop and guitar riffing melody. What's new though is a resonant, brooding menace that permeates the disc from start to finish - the result perhaps of the band's growing confidence in their own musical powers (and maybe just a hint of good ole fashioned rock n roll cynicism as well). As evidenced by the opening track Off a Hook, which literally cascades out of the stereo from the opening chord and sets the listener up for the more complex, moody set to follow.
Originally intended as a short, four track taster for a bigger opus to come, the EP grew an extra song during the recording process itself. The late addition was the stupendous final door slammer Let Us In. Unrehearsed, (and completely unwritten until deep in the session) the recording of Let Us In represents the unchallenged boiling point of the Avengers' creative juices - it is simply a remarkable performance. Over eight minutes long and packed with enough ambience to start a large forest fire, it also represents arguably the band's best psychedelic moment - all this at a time when the well crafted pop song was increasingly the Avengers' dominating muse.
The Dragonfly EP (complete with the daunting challenge of reproducing Let Us In live) was launched by Phantom in February 1995. The record was critically praised and generated significant interest overseas. Strangely though, it was curiously underplayed initially in Australia, and even now remains the least well-known of the Avengers' recorded output in their home country.
Record sales aside, however, Dragonfly remains an extraordinary example of what can be done with the now almost defunct EP format by a band cresting an undoubted creative tsunami. Trust me, its worth getting hold of just for Let Us In alone..........
Emma Peel Sessions
"Overdriven guitars, pop melodies and snippets of psychedelic, acid etched keyboards....relentless.....rocking....raw power."
On The Street (Sydney)
Having spent the last 12 months touring on the back of the Starlight's collection, and enjoying the support of their new record company Phantom, the band returned to the studio in early 1993 to record their next release - the Emma Peel Sessions EP.
While Starlight's Journey Home continued to garner widespread critical acclaim, and be generally well-received by the denizens of the local oz rock dives, it had become increasingly obvious to the Avengers' that trying to reproduce the epic sounds of the debut record in small pubs with even smaller sound systems was fraught with aural danger. The band was definitely short of anything resembling a collection of 3 minute pop songs to compete with the (now ubiquitous) jangling temptations of bar room poker machines and the contra-melodious strains of the upstairs karaoke.
The answer to this dilemma was a collection of tracks hurriedly put together by the band in between (and sometimes during) some dangerously long kombi trips, and recorded in a week of frenetic activity at World Record Studios in the Avengers' hometown of Brisbane. More in keeping with the psych-punk traditions of bands like the Stooges, Redd Kross and the Modern Lovers than the prog-rock pretensions that fuelled Starlight's, the Emma Peel Sessions perfectly captured the raw, dynamic essences that made up the Avenger live experience.
With a cover-art ode to the fabulous Diana Rigg and a cutesy word-play homage to John Peel in the title, the overall package was just what the doctor ordered for the band. Released in December 1993 the EP quickly found favour with the current batch of hip indie music writers and radio announcers in Australia, culminating in the high point of the Avengers' ever- fleeting flirtations with commercial rock success. Although not the most polished of the band's CD releases, the Emma Peel Sessions is nevertheless a brilliant little melodic nugget and a must-listen for afficionados of the psychedelic pop genre.
And so it begins.....
Having continued school friendships through the early days of late night horizon expanding at university, interspersed with very occasional bouts of study, the four soon-to-be Purples began to musically coalesce around a shared love of prog rock sounds and a roguish pointy shoed troubador sensibility.
Led by the burgeoning songsmithing of Karl Nielsen, the group invested dangerously in an array of high quality sound making tools and took up residence in an atmospheric, asbestorific dingearium - part of an abandoned department store in Fortitude Valley, then one of Brisbane's least salubrious surrounds.
After a couple of years learning and living the realities of the live rock trade, the now rapidly crystalising Avenger sound was ready to be tempered in the recording crucible and in 1991 the Band made their way to Broken Toys studio in Brisbane's West End to cut a debut single.
While technically a double A side, it was When will the World Stop Spinning? Blues that was initially pushed as the radio friendly unit shifter, with its catchy melody and addictive guitar./keyboard interplay.
"Spinning'' (as it rapidly became known) was also accompanied by a very slick - by the indie standards of the day - video which was shot in part on the roof top of the grand heritage listed McWhirters building in the Valley, close by the Avengers rehearsal rooms.
The other track Ánother World also garnered plenty of attention for the band on local station 4ZZZ and became somewhat of a cult classic, culiminating in its inclusion on the well regarded Brisbane band compilation Behind the Banana Curtain.
When all is said and done, this was a polished and assured first release by the Purple Avengers. The combination of unusually full rhythms and cascading melodies, together with the startling coloured front cover logo by Michelle Bowden signalled the arrival of something different and potentially very special. After a packed to the rafters launch at the Orient Hotel on the ides of March 1991, the Band began a purple patch of recording and touring which was lead to the more expressive and sophisticated catalogue to come.....