The Expression, Unsung Heroes of Australian Popular Music

I used to play in a band with a guy called Alex. Alex had had some moderate success around Melbourne as a musician and even greater success as an actor, then he moved to Tasmania (ironically where I'd moved to Melbourne from) and that was more or less the beginning or end of the band, despite Tony and my best efforts to keep something of the energy going with a couple of lineup changes. Alex was an amazing songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and a fantastic singer! He sang in his Australian voice, not the fake American or English voices that nearly everybody outside of Australian Hip Hop emulate. To my ears, that almost unique quality was gold.

In the 80s, there was an Australian band, The Expression, who stood out for this thing, too. A pop rock group, with all the hallmarks of the 80s, but the lead singer sang without shame of his accent, "I always close my eyes, to look into the sun, I always close my eyes, same as everyone..." It was a defining moment for me, the first time I heard that song. I'm a rocker, not a rapper so, while I like Aussie hip hop, I don't hear a lot, and when Alex gave me a CD to learn some songs off before I auditioned, and I heard his voice, it invoked those same feelings as when I heard The Expression performing "With Closed Eyes." I'm not a nationalist, but an artist needs a spirit of place, and the voice of place you grew up should never be a source of shame. Rock needs some hip hop honesty, like The Collectables, like The Expression. Cue video...

In The Collectables' clip, that's me, on the left, Alex is hiding in the shadows.


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