Issued in 1986 — at the twin zeniths of the first psychedelic revival and Australia's post-punk underground — and just reissued in a deluxe two-CD set, Free Dirt (Aztec Music), by the Sydney band Died Pretty, is a classic debut album on both counts. "Just Skin," "Next to Nothing" and "Through Another Door" are built on late-Sixties templates — the frantic-Bach dynamics of the Doors; the scouring drone of the Velvet Underground; singer Ron Peno's high, clear belting, like an operatic Iggy Pop — reinvigorated with a jagged modernism and brash, beckoning hooks. Free Dirt was the Died Pretty's first full-length release after three singles and an EP, and this set wisely brings them all together, including the 10-minute "Mirror Blues," an obvious homage to the Velvets' throb epic "Sister Ray" and one of the few equal to the task.
Fricke's Picks: Classic Oz Rock
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