I’ve already written about Choirboys previously, especially their 80’s album in the self-titled debut released in 1983 and “Big Bad Noise” which had the monster hit, “Run To Paradise” released in 1987.
So how do you follow up a monster album released in 1987. Well after all the touring, opening up for large U.S acts and going back into the studio to write and record, the gap was 4 years.
That’s right, 4 years.
It’s a long time.
Instead of recording in Australia, they went to Cherokee Studios in L.A with producer Marc Tanner who used to be an Elektra recording artist.
“Midnight Sun” hit the streets in 1991. And compared to “Big Bad Noise” which was certified double platinum in Australia, “Midnight Sun” has no certification.
For a great album, it gets no love or attention. Even on Spotify, there are no songs from this album in the Top 5 of most listened songs from The Choirboys.
It’s got this AC/DC style groove (think of “Live Wire” with a bit of a Springsteen/Mellencamp vibe.
Lyrically they are the devils boy, is walking the streets of society as the keeper of the midnight sun.
“Our Empire Falls”
This song should have been a hit.
Standing with her back to the ocean
Is this the final curtain call?
Still trying to make a deal with the sunshine
It′s over, it’s over
Once bathed in glory
But now your image is fading
And check out the lyrics, which deal with faded glories and contemplating suicide. This from an act who was expected to write party anthems.
Tonight is the night our empire falls
Their blend of different rock styles is perfect. This song is a great example of how a song can still sound hard rock but be catchy and commercial. It’s a mixture of an AC/DC (that “Live Wire vibe again), Bryan Adams and “Jessie’s Girl” from Rick Springfield with a bit of Def Leppard.
The intro alone has the drums and bass playing a simple hard rock groove.
It’s no surprise that Mellencamp’s music is heard in Australian artists, as the “Scarecrow” album was massive.
‘Cos I see the best of things
Lies somewhere in the kiss of knowledge
Bullshit ends when faith begins
If you’re down at the bottom, at the end
“Place With No Love”
A great ballad with a weird music video featuring a character in a leather fetish mask.
It’s got this “Radar Love” style drum groove and a film clip with people hitting the road to meet up somewhere.
Now we’re on the road to our Rendezvous
With nothing, there’s nothing to lose
These lyrics connect straight away.
Australia is a massive place with vast distances between towns. The only way we used to be connected was via the motorways and suburban roads and railways. So hitting the road to meet up is part of the Australian psyche.
How can you fly with your feet on the ground
Take all of your dreams, let’s get out of this town
We all wanted to escape our hometowns to try and achieve our dreams. These days the kids are okay to live at home we’ll into their 30’s.
“Only In America”
This song melts. When I hear it, I think of The Cult, AC/DC crashing with Springsteen.
Only in America you read my rights to me
Only in America I watch my trial on TV
Only in America only in America
I won’t ever be alone
Then why do I feel so lonely
Check out the intro.
It’s just bass and drums and then the guitars come crashing in with power chords and a nice little lead.
I hear the guitars playing My Generation
That used to be our song
And I can feel the beat down on the boulevard
This feels like a hard rock “Need You Tonight” from INXS.
But I’ve lived a dreamer and I’ve lived in hope
But I don’t want to stay here on my own
I’m going home
A rocking ballad if that ever could be a thing. To me, it’s an awesome cut in the vein of “Born To Run” Springsteen.
When “The Killers” came out, I thought of this song. Because it felt like “The Killers” sounded like this.
In the end, The Choirboys was just another Australian band trying to break into the larger U.S market, which didn’t pan out as expected. And while the first two albums sounded “Australian” (whatever that means, but the label reps kept saying shit like this), the “American” sound was here on this album, and the song writing is mature and the lyrics get you thinking.
Useless fact, fast forward a few years from this, I was in a band opening up for Choirboys in a small pub with about 200 hundred people in attendance.
And vocalist/guitarist Mark Gable along with bassist Ian Hulme were the only original members, but they still brought it live.
The band is still going today with the line up that did this album. Jamming with Gable and Hulme, is guitarist Brett Williams and drummer Lindsay Tebbutt.
10 thoughts on “Australian Method Series: Choirboys – Midnight Sun”
I always was confused between The Choirboys and The Quireboys (London Quireboys). And now know, Aussie group spells it correctly, UK group does not.
Lol it was one of the reasons why I ignored the UK Quireboys. I was like “hey, there’s only one Choirboys”.
For a band that has to be a kick in the nuts to go from double platinum to zippo by the second album. Welcome to the music biz boys but for you as a fan to find some classics in the songs when not many did is kinda cool as a fan as a band probably not so much. lol
Yep the music biz is like the Chainsaw Charlie song from WASP. Grab a talent, exploit them, make some dough from em and then move on to another talent while they are ignored.
I just watched the new Chris Holmes biopic – he said that’s exactly what blackie did .. lol
Ohh Chris Holmes biopic. Where is it available? YouTube.
I downloaded it on tpb – it’s called mean man 2021
I’m on it. Thanks
Awesome that you opened for them! I’ve always like 80s pub rock bands- in the 90s it really changed.. regurgitator , skunkhour, tumbleweed etc.. I just couldn’t get into any of it.
Give me choirboys, avion, bbsteal,rose tattoo ,noiseworks etc..
I’m with ya on the 90s bands. I tried Tumbleweed and gave em a decent listen as I had a friend on who loved em, but there was nothing there melodically for me.
As you say I’ll take the 80s bands anyday.