What the papers have said about Two Fisted Art. In 2003.

From The Brisbane Courier Mail
By Noel Mengel The Moodists, Two Fisted Art (W. Minc) 2003

MOUNT GAMBIER may not at first glance appear to be the likeliest spot for the development of one of Australia's more interesting bands of the 1980s, but history shows that the isolation of small-town life is just as likely -- more so, possibly -- to nurture good rock music as hanging about in inner-city dives.
The band's founders, Dave Graney and Steve Miller, hail from the South Australian town, and met drummer Clare Moore when they formed a band called The Sputniks in Adelaide in the late '70s.
This coalesced into The Moodists in Melbourne in the early '80s, a band spoken of with great fondness by those who witnessed their live shows or picked up one of their releases at the time. But to most they remained a mystery, having relocated to London -- like fellow travellers The Birthday Party, The Go-Betweens and The Triffids -- to be read about at a distance in occasional stories in the British press rather than experienced at first hand.
The mystery has remained, helped by the fact that their music has been hard to find despite the later success of Graney and Moore with the Coral Snakes. But this two-disc retrospective confirms the buzz: as everyone was poring over two-month-old copies of the NME looking for the next saviour of rock, the genuine article had snuck out from under our noses.
The band frequently -- and not very accurately -- has been compared with The Birthday Party, possibly because of Nick Cave connections such as their guitarist for a time, Mick Harvey, later of the Bad Seeds and Dirty Three, and their sound engineer Victor Van Vugt, later a producer of Cave. But The Moodists, to these ears, were the better band, and one which sounded and played more like a traditional rock group.
These discs (one studio, one live) reveal a sound closer to bands like New York's Television and the music coming out of northern England from bands like The Fall and Echo and the Bunnymen: a raw, untamed thing driven along by nervy, rhythmic guitars and Graney's unironic -- there was a time -- rock voice.
Not a lot different from Ian McCulloch's, in fact.
But enough of the comparisons. What's clear from this retrospective is that the band quickly arrived at a very strong, distinctive sound: sometimes haunting and sometimes searingly intense, forged in an atmosphere divorced from record producers, commercial concerns and the other interventions which mess with young bands' minds.
It sounds totally unforced, sure of itself.
Because not that many people have heard the records there is a tendency to think of The Moodists as the band in which Graney and Moore served their apprenticeship.
But these are strong songs, not just sketches, and tunes as powerful as Pure Gold Flesh, Chevrolet Rise and I Want You show that The Moodists already had learnt more than most bands will ever know.




Chris Walsh, Clare Moore, Steve Miller and David Graney, Melbourne , 1982.



David Graney and Steve Miller, the Seaview Ballroom, Melbourne, 1984.

With no less an authority than the New York Times recently proclaiming punk rock as the Next Big Thing, displacing manufactured midriffs and boy bands, the time is ripe for the resurrection of iconoclastic 80's cult band the Moodists.. Migrating from South Australia to Melbourne in 1980., the Moodists lineup settled with Clare moore on drums, David Graney on vocals, Steve Miller on guitar and Chris Walsh on bass. Later they added Mick Turner (the Dirty Three) on second guitar and the stage was truly set. It appears from listening to the music on this compilation that the Moodists played to please themselves. They succeed in broadcasting a "couldn't give a fuck" attitude, but their studied detachment might just serve to conceal how wildly excited they are to be a part of something this good. Early single Chads Car reveals a blueprint fully formed from the start, and surprisingly is the most sonically polished piece here. Typically, on favourites such as Six Dead Birds, Chevrolet Rise, Bullet Train and Frankies Negative, the players slice off into three separate forces:Walsh's mighty bass always out front but totally buttressed by Moore's tremendous drumming: Miller and Turner soaring into seemingly disconnected guitar mayhem: and Graney, the first punk crooner, singing and moaning and chanting as if he's alone in the room. It could be metal , it could be punk, yet it could also be jazz. It is certainly confronting. The package includes a studio disc of 19 tracks gathering most of the bands early singles, EP's amd album cuts from 1980 to 1986, and also a live disc of 16 songs recorded here and in London in the mid '80's. In terms of sound quality, there's no great amount of difference between the two, demonstrating that this was a band built for the road, with little concern (or money) for studio veneer. The music was made 20 years ago but is every bit as vital and challenging today. Amazing stuff.
Jeff Glorfeld. EG

Two-Fisted Art (WMINC)

The birth of this great Australian rock band begins, curiously enough, on a volcano in South
Australia. Now this volcano was inhabited by a number of people; Dave Graney and Steve Miller
were two of them. During youth's idle hours, Dave and Steve drank, dreamt and devoured the rock myth. When their dreams got too big, they hit Adelaide. It was here, around 1978, that they met
Clare Moore, a hypnotic drummer with emerald eyes.
The next move was Melbourne. Here they met a scenester named Chris Walsh, who played bass like
a stallion. With Chris on board, things were looking tough. Shortly thereafter, in the unshaven, bohemian armpit of St. Kilda, an announcement was made: the Moodists had arrived.
To mark the arrival, a pair of zingy singles emerged. This music had magic; it was edgy, twisted, new wave pop forged in a disco grotesquerie. But it wasn't exactly dangerous. In 1983, jagged guitarist Mick Turner joined. Mick, a proud inheritor of John Cale's ear for noise and velvety discord, would give the band a new terror — the ability to produce prolonged pleasure in the viscera. The result: art-rock as thirsty, volcanic shuffle. The new line-up soared, and when they rocked, they killed.
Next logical step in the Moodist trajectory was London. In London, the band was brilliant, but broke,
and bored with TV.
If there are any questions, Two-fisted art has all the answers. An awesome, career spanning 2 CD retrospective, it compiles 19 studio tracks on the
first disc, and 16 live tracks on the second one.
The music on this set is fierce. The fun begins with the backbone, bassist Chris Walsh. He delivers a vicious rumble of Victorian Bitter and primeval thunder. It sets Clare loose, and lights a fire in Dave, as he unleashes a torrent of unholy, street chatter; Dave sings like he's being chased. His lyrics are cloaked in ellipses. Following them is like taking directions from David Lynch — you might get lost.
Song titles recall Bill Burroughs in an inspired Moroccan haze: Bad Cabin, Pure Gold Flesh, Frankies Negative, etc. There's a hilarious Luddite manifesto called Machine, Machine. My favorite is Six Dead Birds with its slow-burn groove, chain gang rants and Mick, who quietly conducts a small cooking fire with his guitar, then accidentally melts his amp. It's a cloudy, bloodshot shout-out to the low life, or as Dave says when announcing the live take, a day in the life of an A & R man. The live version is insane, with faster beats to drive the mighty clamour.
Pinpointing the band’s influences is like trying to identify unidentified objects. The band confesses to an admiration of George Jones and the Velvet Underground. But truly, the Moodists were pure enigmatic euphoria. They were so far ahead of the scene that they often got ahead of themselves sometimes.
Shane Moritz, Beat


Here be an interview with Chris Walsh in 2003

An interview with the Moodists in 2003.


David Graney tries to explain where the songs were comin' from , here....

More reviews from 2003, live and disc related.