Thirty years ago, in the autumn of 1988, Huxton Creepers released the album Keep to the Beat. It was the second full-length release for the Australian band, and the alternate title used in their homeland developed a running joke. The band’s debut, issued in 1986, was called 12 Days to Paris. For their sophomore effort, Huxton Creepers declared the evident completion of that journey, using the title So This is Paris. For U.S. fans — a small population almost entirely contained within college radio stations — such long-range gentle comedy exceeded the capacities of our shortened attention spans, so the band’s label, Polydor Records, renamed the album, borrowing one of their more generic titles from the assembled tracks.
Huxton Creepers hit a certain sweet spot in college rock, combining a skill at crafting hooks with earnest guitar-driven rock and a production that was polished without pushing over into the overly glossy. They played like an arresting bar band with above average songwriting skills. It was something of an Australian specialty at the time, especially with bands that would be slotted in the H section of the music library (Hoodoo Gurus, Hunters and Collectors). There’s hit potential here. A song like “This Day is Mine” sounds like the sort of thing Hootie & the Blowfish would make a jillion dollars peddling a few years later, albeit after adding the key ingredients of cloying sentiment and oversinging, neither of which was likely to come from the perpetually jaded and casual nation from whence Huxton Creepers hailed.
Huxton Creepers didn’t have hits, though, at least not in the U.S. One year after So This is Paris, a.k.a. Keep to the Beat, the band broke up, scattering to different endeavors. Naturally, the new century brought the opportunity for reunion gigs, because any band that once mastered the sprightly jangle of the nineteen-eighties college rock sound can endure indefinitely if they like. And the collective mastery of Huxton Creepers’ in banging out catchy winners was impressive indeed.
Listen or download —> Huxton Creepers, “This Day is Mine”
(Disclaimer: I believe the limited discography of Huxton Creepers to be out of print in the U.S., though I’ll admit I didn’t put much effort into confirming or refuting that assumption. The song is presented here along with urging to go out this weekend and spend money on music at your favorite local, independently owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said shop and the artist. I believe sharing this song in this way falls under the legal principle of fair use, but I will still gladly and promptly remove the file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)