Friday, May 2, 2008

Living In A 20th Century Dark Age

Australian band The Hippos came together in Sydney in 1985. At the heart of the group was rock journeyman Leszek Karski ex of UK outfit Supercharge. Karski settled in Australia after Supercharge split and played with the likes of Flash And The Pan, also showing his production talents with Midnight Oil.

Karski hooked up with bass player/vocalist John Power, keyboardist Bridie King, percussionist Ian Jones and drummer Ace Folington, all the members bringing a substantive musical pedigree to the ranks of the Hippos.

'Dark Age' was the band's debut single in 1988, lifted from the album 'Hippocracy'. Climbing to #41 on the Australian charts, 'Dark Age' combined all the best elements of rock, blues and funk, delivered as the perfect recipe of power pop. I purchased the song originally on 45 but didn't find a CD copy of the album until about five years later when I came across it in a clearance bin at a department store. The Hippos (not to be confused with the US ska-punk band of the late 90s) released a follow up album 'Hippocalypse' (anyone sense a theme here) in late 1989. The album was received poorly and following several lineup changes (including the departure of Karski to form The Bondi Cigars) the band released a third and final album with 1993's 'Creatures From The Black Lagoon'. The album sank without a trace, and so too did The Hippos.

But in an age of throw away pop, with 'Dark Age' The Hippos did deliver one song that would endure.

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