Few would argue about the influence of Melbourne's music scene in the 70s, for it was the mecca of the Australian Music Industry at the time. That said, I'm sure my Sydney neighbours would fervently disagree. While I’m Sydney born and bred, good music is good music and (When The Sun Sets Over) Carlton validates that point. With a runtime nearing three hours, this compilation is an extensive trip down memory lane, but will also excite those of us that missed out on experiencing this wonderfully vibrant music scene during its heyday.
Skyhooks – Carlton (Lygon Street Limbo) is the perfect song to open this compilation. Not only were Skyhooks one of the most successful bands on the scene, at the time, but Carlton (Lygon Street Limbo) incorporates the energy and musicality of the 70s. A sensational song!
The Sports – Who Listens To The Radio? (Original 7" Version) is one of my all-time favourite songs, having heard it repeatedly, ironically, on the radio. Yet, until listening to this compilation, I never knew who the artist was. Now I do and I have this compilation and streaming music to thank for bringing me back to one of the coolest songs from the era.
Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons – So Young is another sensational song and reminds me, in spirit, of Tom Petty. I love it!
The Dots – Lowdown is a little rough around the edges, but that adds to the character of the song. However, I’d argue that while Lowdown isn't a standout song, it is thoroughly enjoyable and the compilation wouldn't be the same without it.
Stiletto – Middle Of The Bed is a sensational classic with a killer vocal, rhythm, and an intriguing guitar tune.
The Bleeding Hearts – Hit Single has a disjointed musical style that surprisingly works perfectly. Hit Single is dynamic and never dull. I don't know about you, dear reader, but it’s a hit from my perspective. It also has a slight Skyhooks influence; what's not to like?
Mighty Kong – Hard Drugs (Are Bad For You) is another rhythmic monster. Seriously, you have to listen to this compilation, it is hit after hit. Incredible!
Mondo Rock – Primal Park is a solid tune but it has a little too much pop-influence for my liking. However, there are certain elements, such as the chorus, that are spot on and thoroughly enjoyable.
Mark Gillespie – Suicide Sister is pure perfection!
High Rise Bombers – Faster Than Light is a great song. That brass section undoubtedly makes the song and I could happily listen to Faster Than Light on repeat for hours.
The Toads – Eudil is addictive. Yes, even that interesting near-pop-based backing vocal grows on you; the song would be lost without it.
The Pelaco Bros – Mechanics In A Relaxed Manner isn't a bad blues-based tune, but I find the mix confuses my mind as the vocal presentation is too forward and slightly offbeat to the rhythm. In some respects, it is as though two songs have morphed into one.
The Relaxed Mechanics – Truckin' Casanova is a campy tune, but I can't help but love it. An absolute classic and arguably a song that only an Australian band could have conjured up.
Millionaires – Gossip has a shifting tempo that takes a little getting used to. It isn't my favourite song from the compilation, but there was bound to be at least one of the tracks that didn't connect with me.
The Kevins – Out At Night is a great song. Yes, another campy tongue-in-cheek song, but such is Australian humour.
Martin Armiger & Buzz Leeson – No Reason is a killer classic rock tune.
Parachute – The Big Beat isn't anything to write home about, but the compilation wouldn't be the same without it.
Spare Change – Let's Get Rich Together is one of those songs that takes repeat listens to truly enjoy. That said, once the connection is made, you'll be hypnotised by this exceptional song.
The Glory Boys – The Ballad Of Good & Evil is a fantastic song. The rhythm is amazing, but that vocal delivery is off-the-charts. So Good!
Eric Gradman Man And Machine – Crime Of Passion is a solid song with an interesting vocal overlay. The sonic shift, mid-song, is also intriguing and while I'm unsure of how I really feel about Crime Of Passion, it suits the compilation perfectly.
Martin Armiger – I Love My Car is certainly reminiscent of the era, but I’d argue that it’s not quite worthy of this collection.
The Bleeding Hearts – Boys (Greg Macainsh Demo Version) is a great track. It kinda makes me wonder what the non-demo version sounds like as this edition was already ready for prime-time in my opinion.
Stiletto – Rozalyn is a killer song. The vocal delivery, in particular, is absolutely sensational, making for one of the best songs on the compilation. That said, there is a little sibilance in the vocal that can be distracting, especially when listening via headphones.
The Dots – I See Red is rather rough around the edges, reminding me a little of the early Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan recordings. Overall, however, it isn't a bad song but it could have been great with a little more spit and polish.
Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons – Only The Lonely Hearted isn’t a song to write home about, but it's a solid addition to this compilation.
The Sports – Suddenly is a great song that improves upon each listen. I love the vocal style and Suddenly is perfectly mixed.
Mondo Rock – Telephone Booth has a great rhythm that is full of energy. I dare say Telephone Booth would have been exceptional when played live.
Daddy Cool – Saturday Night (GTK Live) is merely satisfactory as there are much better Daddy Cool songs that could have been selected for this compilation.
Skyhooks – Hey, What's The Matter? (Steve Hill Demo Version) is awesome! Although, the final master recording is even better. Regardless, it's Skyhooks, what is not to like?
Company Caine – Buzzin’ With My Cousin is a little too left of the centre for me. That doesn't mean that you won't like it, but I just don’t connect with it.
Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band – Roll That Reefer is different and feels out-of-place, but it’s certainly a compelling tune.
Stephen Cummings & Dave Flett – The Third Degree sounds too much like The Rolling Stones. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the song is excellent, but I do value uniqueness.
Rock Granite – You Got Me Where You Want Me is a toe-tapper and a head-bopper. Great tune!
Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons – Someday It's Gonna Come To You (1976 Demo Version) is far better than the demo tag would make you believe. A sensational song!
Mark Gillespie – Comin' Back For More is thoroughly enjoyable.
Autodrifters – Locked Out Of Love is not my type of song, but you may enjoy it; especially if you're a Hank Williams fan.
Fabulous Nudes – I'll Be A Dag For You, Baby is daggy! It isn't the greatest song and should have been omitted from the compilation.
The Pelaco Bros – Truckdrivin' Guru is a solid song, but nothing to write home about and again we have a song that is somewhat influenced by The Rolling Stones. I guess imitation is really the sincerest form of flattery.
Peter Lillie & The Leisuremasters – Hangin' Round The House is brilliant! An Aussie Classic!
The Sports – Live Work & Play (Nightmoves Live) isn't a bad song but I'm more interested in the polish that often accompanies studio recordings. That said, this is a strong live performance with plenty of energy.
High Rise Bombers – Radio Show is a great song and that jam session mid-song is superb.
Eric Gradman Man & Machine – Bright Boy has an addictive beat and is overall an exceptional song.
Skyhooks – This Is My City is a great way to close this compilation. It ensures that I'll listen again as Skyhooks can do no wrong in my opinion.
For those of you calculating the track listing, some will wonder why there are only 43 songs reviewed, rather than the 45 included on the album. Sadly, likely due to contractual permissions, Daddy Cool’s Boy You're Paranoid and The Indelible Murtceps' Blue Movies Made Me Cry are missing from streaming services. This discrepancy is yet another reason why owning the CD is a good idea as you're not limited to accessing the music you love by outside influences that are out of your control. Despite this, (When The Sun Sets Over) Carlton is an incredible compilation of Australian artists from the 70s and the reputable Melbourne music scene. While there are a couple of songs that don't connect with my soul, the compilation as a whole does. Subsequently, every song, regardless of my subjective viewpoint, is essential.
(When The Sun Sets Over) Carlton is available on CD, the TIDAL Store (16/44.1kHz FLAC), and iTunes. It’s important to note that the aforementioned absent songs are available if you purchase the album.