Living With You Is Killing Me
Pay no attention to the cover, which overlays the band name in all-caps so the eye’s tricked into reading ?shit? ad nauseum. Ignore the band name, for they have no hits. Though this is music born from the Sunshine State, its content is better suited to nighttime debauchery. Which is why a comparison between Brisbane five-piece Hits? debut and Fun House is apt for two reasons: Hits once covered that Stooges classic in its entirety, and I’m loathe to use anyone other than Iggy Pop as the reference point for frontman Evil Dick’s throaty, whiskey-tinged holler.
This is a big, dumb rock record done well. It sees the band offset masculine overtones by placing guitars in the hands of two capable women – Butcher Birds’ Stacey Coleman and former Gazoonga Attack member Tamara Bell – who double as back-up singers at opportune moments as well. Take the opener, ‘Fuck The Needy’, for example, where the pair erupt with an unexpected, hair-raising call of, “Nothing succeeds like success!”
Out of the 10 songs here, the Lee Hazlewood cover, ‘The Night Before’, is treated with the utmost respect. Removed from its 1960s country context, the band’s tasteful embellishments serve only to maximise the song’s emotional impact. Its tale of late night excess and daytime regret matches Hits? boozy aesthetic to a tee: “But now those empty whiskey bottles/Within my mind forevermore/And in the silence, I hear crying/Yes, I remember the night before.”
Informed by irony (see ‘Never Sing A Song Again’, which appears in the middle of the album), self-deprecation (Dick pauses during the title track and asks himself: “What’s a skinny fuck-arse white boy piece of shit like me ever gonna do about it?”) and knowingly infantile couplets (“Yeah I know, Jesus made mistakes/Yeah I know that Elvis ate lots of steaks”), Hits are endearing, if only because they sound like they’re not trying too hard. There’s nothing forced about Living With You Is Killing Me. Even album closer ‘The End’ – wherein a lost friend is eulogised – sounds like it was written and recorded as the sun began to rise after another night on the piss.