Great Rock Albums of 1983: INXS- Shabooh Shoobah


Before I proceed into the post about my first experience of Australian new wave band INXS, I thought I would be like some of my fellow bloggers and mention a good bargain I picked up on an album. Last Saturday, I was in my local Morrison’s supermarket when I happened past the CD section. Normally, I might only take a sweeping glance at their CD display as most of it is chart stuff. However, something interesting caught my eye. There on the shelf was the classic Bruce Springsteen, “Born to Run” album for just £3 ($4.50). Since my previous cassette copy of this album fell victim to my car stereo in 1990, I naturally had to pick it up. Now, let’s go into the post.


My first experience of INXS came a couple of months after I left the marines in 1983 and came by the way of the single “Don’t Change.” It wasn’t metal, it wasn’t Southern Rock nor could I put it into any sort of category but new wave, all I know that I liked the song. I liked the hard guitar sound in the background and though I thought they could have been a bit more dominant, it still worked. The keyboards were played smartly and complimented the song very well. However, having been burnt not long before this, I hesitated in buying the album “Shabooh Shoobah” right away. It was via a working companion that I was finally treated to it.

“Shabooh SHoobah” illustrates exactly where I was musically at this time in 1983. While my full conversion to heavy metal had already taken place, I wasn’t completely repulsed by what was being played on the radio at the time. When I listened to the album, I found it quite to my liking. While I wouldn’t exactly call it hard rock and there are no blistering guitar solos, there is sufficient guitar on it. Furthermore, I like Michael Hutchence’s vocals. He has that sinister sounding voice that gives a dark sounding tone to many of the songs. Track two, “Look at You” is prime evidence of this. Even with some of the more upbeat sounding songs like “Don’t Change” his voice doesn’t make the song some kind of happy pop song. Some more good examples are “Spy of Love,” “Here Comes” and “Golden Playpen.” I must also point out the saxophone playing of Kirk Pengilly on the album. I am always a bit skeptical when a band employs horns in rock but I have to say, Pengilly’s abilities are more than sufficient to pull it off here.

Track Listing:

  1. The One Thing
  2. To Look At You
  3. Spy of Love
  4. Soul Mistake
  5. Here Comes
  6. Black and White
  7. Golden Playpen
  8. Jan’s Song
  9. Old World New World
  10. Don’t Change


Garry Gary Beers- bass

Andrew Farriss- guitar, keyboards

John Farriss- drums, percussion

Tim Farriss- guitar

Michael Hutchence- vocals

Kirk Pengilly- guitar, saxophone, vocals

It has been questioned why a song by INXS, (not from this album), appears on the soundtrack to “Rock Star,” a film about a heavy metal band. Being in possession of said soundtrack, I don’t think that song is out of place on it. As the album “Shabooh Shoobah” shows, they had the potential to go in any direction. There is just enough of a rock vibe on this album to satisfy me along with some new wave creativity. On the downside, I can’t help thinking with their next album, they kind of went in the wrong direction.

Next post: The Night Before I Got Out of the Marines

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16 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1983: INXS- Shabooh Shoobah”

  1. My boss at the record store always said this was their best album. I love Michael’s singing as you pointed out.


  2. Great post and a great little album, too. Often overlooked given how majorly successful they got, but there’s loads of great songs on here.


  3. Great post. Love this album and a few others of theirs. I always thought the inclusion of “Devil Inside” in Rock Star was supposed to represent how Mark Wahlberg’s character was about to change now that he had become a rock star. It was an excellent choice. The movie loses steam a bit after that scene, but everything leading up to it is a must-watch for me.


    • Interesting point about Rock Star and you might have hit the nail on the head with the use of “Devil Inside” in the film. The end of that film has always bothered me. Yes, it’s good that he gets back with his girlfriend and reconciles with the old band mate he had fallen out with but I still don’t believe that they would have formed an acoustic band, especially as they both had heavy metal roots.


  4. Good one! I really like Shabooh Shoobah, and thought they really started making their way musically with it from their debut and Underneath the Colours. I also like the Swing, although, like you said, it is a departure.


  5. Cool album to feature! My favorite INXS album is “Listen Like Thieves” 🙂 I agree with you about INXS, they were radio friendly yet not so ‘poppy’ that you wanted to avoid them. A party band, man! They were a great band, IMO. \m/


    • I think INXS were like U2 back then in the sense that they were bands that appealed to both metalheads and trendies. You’re right about them being a party band, I remember “Don’t Change” being played at a party when back then and the party seemed to kick into gear after that.


  6. I never really got into them until ‘Kick’, although I have had the earlier ones played at me none of them have stuck too well.


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