Three of the strongest Australian albums of the past 20 years are spit-shined up and embellished with dozens of bonus tracks from the vaults. You won’t stop grinning.

Every reissue of a classic album has two very different audiences – the long-time fans and the curious newcomers. For many of us 90s kids around Australia, the reissue of Sound As Ever (1993), Hi Fi Way (1995) and Hourly, Daily (1996) will be the first time that albums that meant everything to us are given the official ‘classic reissue’ treatment. Kids, it will happen to you one day too.

Fans will need no assurance that these albums hold up as timeless, and little has been brought to the front through remastering. Newcomers who only know the hits may be surprised at the R&B groove found under Sound As Ever’s dirty guitars (‘Adam’s Ribs’, ‘Coprolalia’), the emergence of Tim Rogers’ cocky/awkward juxtaposition on Hi Fi Way (‘Pizza Guy’, ‘How Much Is Enough’), and the sublime jangle and suburban bittersweetness that inhabits Hourly, Daily (‘Soldiers’, ‘If We Can’t Get It Together’). If there are faults to the original albums, perhaps each could have been shortened by one or two songs, but only the most contrary will quibble over the necessity of an ‘Off The Field’ here or a ‘Heavy Comfort’ there.

Where the reissues really surprise is in the bonus material – not just a couple of songs tacked on the end, but an extra 65 tracks across the three albums. There’s little truly unheard material – the unreleased Posies-ish track ‘Up Against It’ and an early demo of ‘Tuesday’. However, only the most avid collectors would be across the deep well of gold that comprises B-sides, 7” singles, original bonus discs, live recordings and covers of forebears like Big Star, New York Dolls, The Who and The Easybeats. As a fan, having these cast-offs finally assembled is an absolute treasure. Newcomers, you’re being handed a box of everything we scraped together over our youth, so ensure you’re not overwhelmed and listen to the albums first.

5/5 stars

BY SIMON TOPPER

Reissues ofSound As Ever, Hi Fi Way; Hourly, Daily are out now through Sony.

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