New Zealand’s pop export Straightjacket Fits could trash and thrash things up gloriously with the best of them. Like Kurt Cobain, charismatic leader Shayne Carter – brandishing a left-handed black Les Paul – wrote smart, melodic and infectious pop songs that he then dirtied up.
Primal garage rock rhythms and a maelstrom of distorted psychedelic guitars gave Carter’s classic 60s-style songwriting a very modern feel.
Live, Sweat running down his face, with his shirt drenched, Carter was a tense angry young man slashing at his guitar and delivering lyrics in an acrid, edgy voice reminiscent of This Years Model-period Elvis Costello.
Their debut 1987 EP Life in One Chord scored a minor hit with the wonderful She Speeds, and the band resurfaced a year later with the LP Hail, which received almost universal acclaim.
A world tour followed before the band returned to the studio to record their 1990 album Melt, featuring the hit single Bad Note for a Heart.
After a gruelling tour, writer-vocalist-guitarist Andrew Brough quit the band and was replaced by guitarist Mark Peterson, who used his Rickenbacker to deliver a slew of intoxicating Beatles-esque riffs.
Following the 1993 LP Blow and a tour of America with The Bats, the band dissolved.