Life is full of surprises, and one of this year’s biggest must be the news that 1980’s chart toppers, Mi-Sex, are set to release their first album of new material after a thirty-three year break, on September 9.
The new wave New Zealanders released their first album back in 1979, containing the singles ‘But You Don’t Care’ and the ‘Space Invader’ eulogising, ‘Computer Games’, and they soon became a huge draw in pubs and clubs around the country and staples on Australian music TV shows such as ‘Countdown’.
They released a flurry of albums and had a number of other chart hits over the ensuing four years – singles like ‘People’, ‘Falling In And Out’, ‘Space Race’ all earned high rotation radio play – until the untimely death of original singer, Steve Gilpin, saw them withdraw from the limelight.
Now, with original members Don Martin & Murray Burns and ‘Where Do They Go?’ era members, Paul Dunningham and Colin Bayley, back together and working with new vocalist Steve Balbi, and the aptly named Travis New on guitar, Mi-Sex are sounding great.
Releasing an EP earlier this year which featured one new song (‘Someday’) and three re-recorded classics, including ‘Computer Games’, the new line-up signalled that they could still cut it in the studio. The sound is strong and crisply produced, faithful to the original character of the band, and Balbi’s vocals are confident and powerful, and on the new song, sounding a little like Gavin Friday – a good fit for the revamped Mi-Sex.
Whilst the new album, Not From Here, is yet to be heard in its entirety, the first single from the album, ‘My Sex Your Sex’, is a tune that manages to simultaneously sound like it could have been released back in the band’s heyday whilst still sounding completely fresh and of its time. If you can get past the fact these guys are probably a tad too old to be singing lines like ‘we can do it on the road, anywhere you like, we can make it anytime’, it is actually an appealingly frenetic stomper that will certainly attract new fans to the band. It is not pretentious, and seems to be designed simply for people to jump around to and have fun – as all good pop music should be.
As a taster for the album it certainly achieves its purpose in getting the listener curious, and hopeful for more songs of this quality when the album can finally be heard in its entirety.
Touring plans for the band later in the year to support this release are currently limited to New South Wales venues, but should enough people get to hear this new Mi-Sex sound there’s little doubt that they would be warmly welcomed back into the pubs and clubs of all of the other states too.
The album will be released through Golden Robot Records and iTunes.
By Ken Grady