Australia’s Divinyls

Posted: September 19, 2014 in Band Profiles, New Wave, Rock
Tags: , , , ,

Many people know Australia’s Divinyls from their early ‘90s hit “I Touch Myself.” But the band had great success in their native country throughout the ‘80s. During that time period, they had a much harder sound, especially in the earlier part of the decade. I first discovered them through their video for the song “Boys in Town,” which received airplay on MTV in 1983. It’s a hard-hitting rock song with an unrelenting rhythm that mixed well with lead singer Chrissy Amphlett’s unique voice and high-energy performance. At the time, Amphlett reminded me of a younger Chrissie Hynde – fringe bangs, and lots of eyeliner and attitude. (In the 80s, Amphlett performed in a schoolgirl uniform and was often referred to as the female version of fellow Aussie Angus Young of AC/DC).

Formed in Sydney, Australia in 1980, the band went through many line-up changes throughout the ‘80s. By time the ‘90s rolled around they were a very different band. They adopted a more glamorous look and their sound moved to mainstream pop. It was only recently, after having come across a story on the band, that I remembered how much of a fan I had been of their earlier work. The group ended up disbanding in 1996 but reunited for a short time 10 years later before finally calling it quits in 2009. Unfortunately, Amphlett died in 2013 at the age of 53, after battling breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.

“Boys in Town” was originally released as a single in 1981. It’s part of the soundtrack for the 1982 movie Monkey Grip, which Amphlett also starred in. The single was also included on their debut album, Desperate, released in 1983. The video finds Amphlett in full schoolgirl garb, aggressively wielding a neon mic stand.

 

One of my favorite tracks off the debut album is “Science Fiction.” It has futuristic sounding keyboards and a robotic vocal performance by Amphlett that warrants the song’s title.

 

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