Scientists - Blood Red River 12 inch
While the EP Blood Red River was the third release from Australia's the Scientists, this was for all practical purposes an entirely different band than that which had cut a self-titled debut album in 1981. The Scientists had briefly broken up after the first album's release (two parting members would soon join an embryonic version of the Hoodoo Gurus), and guitarist and singer Kim Salmon put together a new edition of the group that more strongly reflected his own musical obsessions -- plenty of twisted blues changes and skittery slide guitar, thick and pulsing basslines, and primal rhythms and noisy guitar solos that reflected the influences of the Stooges and the Velvet Underground. As a result, Blood Red River is truly the first salvo of the Scientists as fans would come to know them, and these six tunes set the template the group would follow through the '80s. Salmon would grow as a songwriter over the decade, and Blood Red River doesn't feature his best set of tunes, but he already knew how to spit out some feral vocals, and he and Tony Thewlis were already an estimable guitar team, while bassist Boris Sujdovic and Brett Rixon had figured out how to sound limber, swampy, and muscular all at once. "When Fate Deals Its Mortal Blow," "Set It on Fire," and the title cut are just as menacing as Salmon wanted them to be, and the open-ended guitar brawling at the end of "Rev Head" is good enough that you may well be disappointed when it's sliced off at 4:41. Historically invaluable for fans of Kim Salmon's work, and good creepy fun for anyone who digs Aussie rock in the mold of the Birthday Party.
- Mark Deming, Allmusic.com