The Earthmen – Periscope

Sound As Ever 90-99 are proud to announce their next release will be the previously “lost” album “Periscope” from much loved Melbourne band The Earthmen. The band toured extensively from 1991-1999 and released a string of singles and EPS on the iconic Summershine label (including “Teen Sensations” and “The Rise And Fall Of My Favourite 60s Girl”) before signing to Warners to release the “Love Walked In” album.

The band bowed out with the “War Against Rock’n’roll EP on Shock records and a sold out final show at the Evelyn Hotel in February 1999. The band had multiple line-up changes over the years but the core duo of Scott Stevens and Nick Batterham were together for the bulk of the musical journey. “Periscope” was recorded in 1995 with Wayne Connolly as an intended release on Summershine Records before Warners came scouting! Some tracks found a home as B-sides but the bulk of the album has sat in the archives until now. Scott and Nick have detailed their recollections below.

The Earthmen - Periscope - back cover

“Do you have those years? 1995 Was a year of transition and change that sits redolent of heartaches and loss. Which fits with the LP we recorded.

We’d returned from the US and Europe a different band in mid 1994. Nick and I shared a house at 19A Byron St, you know the poet’s bit of Elwood, and we’d begun exploring different sonic avenues. The 94 iteration of the band was The Earthmen at their loudest and in response we wanted a more nuanced approach to noise. Sonic bowerbirds. We began to step up and try songwriting.

Scott Stevens - The Earthmen
Scott Stevens – The Earthmen

The love of late sixties folk-rock jangle with a spice mix of Brit pop and alt-country was colliding with death, breaks of love, new loves that then broke, degrees being finished, hiding in a haze, standing for all to see, a desperate longing and a whole lot of songwriting. If it sounds earnest or overwrought it’s because I think we kinda were at the time: isn’t that what being pre 25 is? Maybe that’s what made the result a bit uncomfortable? Or maybe we hadn’t quite hit the points we’d wanted to achieve fully? Or maybe we did?”Scott Stevens

“Periscope Studios was a house in Caulfield owned by Tim Finn, where Crowded House recorded half of Woodface and apparently, Neil Finn wrote Don’t Dream It’s Over. Tim’s gold albums were stacked in a dusty heap, facing the wall beside a rickety pianola that played a roll of Six Months In A Leaky Boat. In the lounge a periscope rose through the ceiling, its dial displaying ‘fractions of friction.’ Quirks of a success worth aspiring to.

We were excited to work with Wayne Connolly. As a fellow guitarist, he encouraged our endless overdubs. We were on a steep curve, learning how to make records, a giant leap from just being recorded by someone. 

The recordings opened a door at Warners, offering the opportunity to do it all again a bit shinier. Most of the songs were re-recorded later in 1995 and into 1996, becoming the Love Walked In album. Call My Name, College Heart and Firestarter appeared as B-sides. This Much I Know made the album with a few extra overdubs. It’s reassuring now to hear how well-formed our ideas were. It’s a shame these recordings got left behind in the rush.”Nick Batterham

The album is available digitally and on limited edition, individually numbered Compact Disc from our Bandcamp page.