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This Is the Magic Mile

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Album Review

The average rock fan is probably aware that Ed Kuepper was one of the founding members of the Saints, who along with Radio Birdman, share the honors as Australia's first great punk bands. More intense followers of Kuepper's career are aware of his jazz-flavored post-punk group the Laughing Clowns and his blazing latter-day proto-punk outfit the Aints. However, Kuepper's solo career seems to have caused barely a ripple outsides the Antipodes, perhaps because he's been so insanely prolific — between 1985 and 2000, Kuepper released 19 albums (not including compilations) and 23 singles and EPs, more than plenty of folks could keep up with. For most artists, a three-CD set examining a 15-year stretch in someone's career might seem a bit excessive, but with Kuepper's output This Is the Magic Mile turns out to be just as thorough as it ought to be. Kuepper's take on indie rock Aussie style displays a pleasing diversity — Kuepper can tackle airy folk-rock, energetic power pop, lean punk mixed with hard rock force, and even synth-driven dance grooves without losing his footing, and his graceful way with a melody, his pithy but emotionally resonant lyrical style, his elegant and cutting guitar work, and his no-nonsense vocals are present on nearly every one of the 49 songs included here. And while some of the oddball covers on disc three will throw folks for a loop (especially "When I Was Young" and "Highway to Hell"), anyone who can write something as beautiful as "Everything I've Got Belongs to You" or as powerful as "Like an Oil Spill" has more than earned a large portion of carte blanche. With only a tiny fraction of Ed Kuepper's recorded repertoire available in America, This Is the Magic Mile thankfully covers plenty of ground and serves as a well-deserved sampler from a man who richly deserves a higher international profile.


Born: Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Though he formed the Saints with Chris Bailey in 1975, Ed Kuepper left the band before its biggest popular success (though after its best recordings). The Saints were one of Australia's premier punk bands, and Kuepper played on two albums before leaving in 1979 to form the Laughing Clowns, a band whose sound was jazzier and quite a bit more experimental than his former group. The Laughing Clowns released three EPs during the early '80s before their debut self-titled album appeared in 1982. Kuepper...
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This Is the Magic Mile, Ed Kuepper
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