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Just to prove it isnít Strictly Ballroom, itís the girls who steal the show on this soundtrack from the newly released tap-meets-testosterone extravaganza.

Thereís lots of machismo in the male-fronted pub and grunge rock tracks from The Living End, You Am I, Grinspoon and co, but none have more impact than Deborah Conwayís Radio Loves This, or Leonardoís Brideís Even When Iím Sleeping.

Radio Loves This has been out for a while, and Iím not sure itís quite lived up to its name, but it deserves to. Turning up the heat from her often sedately folksy outings, Conway emotes over a driving back beat and gritty guitar riffs, to find an appealing niche between the blues of Wendy Matthews and the bite of Natalie Imbruglia.

Neither Matthews nor Imbruglia make a contribution here, but Conway does have a symbolic sister in Leonardoís Brideís front-fem, Abby Dobson. Dobsonís voice fluctuates between dreamy breathiness and soaring abandon on a world-class slice of melodic pop. Radio genuinely has had an on-going love affair with Even When Iím Sleeping; and so have I.

Like these two representatives of fair dinkum Aussie Girl Power, most of the blokesy rock on this record is compiled from tracks released within the last couple of years. For the most part, theyíre boots-and-all power numbers with enough grunt to cover for the lack of subtlety.

Occasionally, thereís even a hint of imagination Ė the oddly dissonant pizzicato that punctuates Custardís Hit Song, and the bass and brass bursts that colour You Am Iís pungently pleasing Junk.

Cooling down the tempo is Icecream Hands, who serve up some stylish folk-rock with their titillating Nipple. And four new compositions, written specifically for the film by Cezary Skubiszewski (Two Hands, The Sound Of One Hand Clapping), fit the mood like a comfortable singlet and jeans ensemble. As does the first single, SupaSkubaís Giveway, to which he contributed.

The only real let down is Tap Forge Ė a boots-tapped-for-sound finale that comes across as a bit of a wimp-out after the fabulous racket these guys made at the Olympic opening ceremony.

Nevertheless, if you like your Ozi-rock with lotsa guitars and few frills, youíll love this CD. You can bet your boots on it.
Brad Green

Published: October 5, 2000

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Radio Loves This - Deborah Conway
Even When I'm Sleeping - Leonardo's Bride


TITLE: Bootmen (Original Soundtrack Recording)

ID: 74321784292

FEATURED ARTISTS: The Living End, You Am I, Cezary Skubiszewski, SupAskuba, Regurgitator, Paul Kelly, Banana Oil, Grinspoon, Deborah Conway, Custard, Deadstar, Icecream Hands, Oblivia, Leonardoís Bride, Dein Perry

EXEC. PRODUCERS: Dein Perry, Hilary Linstead


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