Under Review

Easy Money

Collection 79-82

Hosehead Records/ Neon Taste; 20/03/2017

Mark Budd

Bands live and then bands die. That’s what happens sometimes. Countless hours are spent toiling away in a jam space until time is up. Recordings and shows are the only currency for a band’s legacy. Quite often, this fortune stays in the amygdala, collecting interest only from those in search of the obscure.

Easy Money existed as a Victoria-based power-pop band for three years. The group released two singles on Richards Records in 1980 and broke up two years later. They had their pleasure and their fun. Left in obscurity are 13 songs that now appear on Collection 79-82.

These songs do not stray far from the power-pop comfort zone: the guitars are loud, the drumming is lively, and the lyrics are wrapped up in the innocence of young love and confusion. The lyrics are typical of the genre without getting too philosophical. The exception, however, is found on “No Stranger to Danger” where Easy Money waxes about facism, class, and race, before punctuating the song with a screeching guitar solo and warning that “You’re no stranger / To the danger / Of living / In the First World.”

Though engaging sparingly with such thoughts of depth, Easy Money compensates with youthful vigor and conviction. Collection’s most lovable moments are the two-track, off-the-floor recordings. “Young and Overequipped,” for instance, has Easy Money foaming with disgust at living in an old man’s world. The band does not let up, showing reckless dissonance as the guitar screeches along the fretboard. “It Keeps Me Living” builds upon this frantic pace. Anxious drum fills pinch the band to the limits of space and time before testifying that “The love you’re giving / It keeps me living.” It’s actually what love should feel like: frisky and confident.

The definition of power-pop was obscured as humanity burrowed deeper into the ‘80s. That’s what happens sometimes. But Easy Money sounds like a power-pop band invested in the essentials. They sweeten melodic hooks over a brisk tempo; their ragged riffs sneer back with crooked major-key smiles. Collection 79-82 finally gives listeners a chance to cash in on otherwise hidden currency.