The Kryptonics are a mostly forgotten group, even by the already cultish standards of Australian rock. Fans of Radio Birdman, The Scientists, and Died Pretty will be familiar with the Kryptonics’ musical pallette – a high-energy mix of Nuggets, Detroit proto-punk and psychedelic power-pop. While I doubt their records made it as far as Seattle, I can hear similarities between them and early grunge groups like The Screaming Trees (vocalist Ian Underwood sounds like Mark Lanegan) and Mudhoney. This 2-CD retrospective includes everything they recorded from 1985-1992, and it makes an excellent case for critical re-evaluation. The first disc houses all their officially released material, singles, EP’s and compilation appearances – no full-length albums. The disc is excellent, but it’s the first two songs – “She’s Got Germs” and “The Land That Time Forgot” – I play the most, with their charming trash-rock aesthetic and catchy melodies. The second disc is made up of previously unreleased lo-fi live recordings, a random Stooges cover (“Sick Of You”), and the band’s first ever 7″ single, featuring original singer Michael Reynolds, who thankfully left soon after it was recorded.
As the ’80s turned into the ’90s , the band was in an almost constant state of flux, with members coming and going every few months (including a stint with Russell Hopkinson – the killer drummer from You Am I). Musically they were changing as well, taking elements from the more acceptable side of late-’80s hard rock (think The Cult and Guns ‘n’ Roses, not Winger and Warrant), without sacrificing their punky energy. The band broke up in 1992 due to lack of radio support and good gigs. 18 years on, the prime cuts of dangerous underground rock’n’roll they left behind still sound great. Play it loud.