Emerging from the provincial South Australian town of Mount Gambier in the late seventies, The Moodists were at odds with most Australian music genres.
Neither self-conscious avant-garde experimentalists nor cheating-heart pop merchants, The Moodists sported a sound ranging from rockabilly to post-Stooges pomp and gave free rein to expressions of lust, violence, death and everything else that went bump in the night.
Their sound was based on a powerful rhythm section of drummer Clare Moore and bassist Chris Walsh. WIth their spinal-crunch rhythms, they resembled classic American lineups of the 60s. Guitarists Mick Turner and Steve Miller created a tangled, driving sound, with Dave Graney completing the picture on vocals, soaring and stumbling through the melodies.
The band released two singles – Where The Trees Walk Downhill and Gone Dead – and a classic six-track EP, Engine Shudder, for Melbourne indie label Au-Go-Go, but despite critical respect and a degree of alternative FM radio airplay, The Moodists proved to be either too weird for the mainstream or insufficiently fashionable for the hip elite.
Relocating to England, they recorded an album, Thirsty’s Calling (1964) to widespread critical acclaim. A second six-track EP, Double Life, followed in 1985, which the band promoted via tours of Europe, America and Australia. A Creation Records EP, Justice and Money Too, was released in 1985.
The Moodists released two further EPs in 1986, by which time, Mick Turner had left the band and Chris Walsh had returned to Australia. He was replaced by David McClymont, previously a member of the Scottish band Orange Juice.
The Moodists’ final gig was in London and the group called it a day in 1987. Graney, Moore and Ross formed Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes.
A double compilation album – Two-Fisted Art – was released in 2003, containing most of The Moodists’ studio recordings and live material from 1982 and 1984.