From their early, scratchy, punk and dub influenced releases to their later, more commercial albums The Models always had punters leaping onto the dance floor or into the crush at the front of the stage. And they have certainly left their mark on 1980s pop culture.
Based around the talents of Sean Kelly, James Freud, Barton Price and Andrew Duffield many would argue that Models 1983 album The Pleasure Of Your Company represents the pinnacle of the band’s ten year career, straddling as it does the peculiar and eclectic sounds of their first releases and the pop music they produced and the late 1980’s.
Opening track I Hear Motion is a bonafide Australian classic with Duffield’s innovative synth work and Sean Kelly’s taut vocals weaving a stuttering mid-tempo dance hit which peaked at number 16 on the national charts.
My favourite of the album’s three singles is undoubtedly the weird, tribal drinking song No Shoulders, No Head; the track is all pounding drums and chanted chorus surrounding Kelly’s slightly disturbing verses alluding to the delirium of the dipsomaniac.
Though neither of the subsequent singles to I Hear Motion did well commercially the third, God Bless America is actually the most danceable of the three and hints at the direction the band would take with their later albums Out Of Mind Out Of Sight and Media.
Not to put shade on those two excellent albums but The Pleasure Of Your Company is special because it comes from an era of musical innovation, a time before the word “electronica” had currency and a time when even the most modern synthesisers came with a 500 page manual and almost required a degree in electrical engineering to operate.
Models sit in a pantheon of 1980’s Aussie electronic pioneers, along with acts such as Severed Heads, Scattered Order and Single Gun Theory they transcended the post-punk, D.I.Y ethos of early electronic music and produced tunes which were both edgy and approachable.
Sadly, or stupidly, in 2010, bassist and singer James Freud took his own life following a long battle with alcoholism which he documented in two books: “I am the Voice Left from Drinking (2002), and I am the Voice Left from Rehab (2007).