Saturday, November 5, 2016

REPOST: Meo 245 - Screen Memory (1981) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1979-1983)
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This Synth driven power pop outfit MEO 245 flew the new wave flag for Tasmania on the Australian music scene in the late 70s/early 80s.
They played their formative years whilst still in high school, at that time going by the moniker Guided Tour. At that stage the line-up included Chris Ball (vocals), Paul Brickhill (keyboards / vocals), Paul Northam (guitar/vocals), Mick Wilson (bass) and Campbell Laird (drums), playing a mix of covers from the songbooks of Led Zeppelin and Uriah Heep. After graduating the band decided to try their luck in the ‘big smoke’, relocating to Melbourne in February 1979, as MEO 245.
The band’s new name referenced the catalogue number from an obscure French pressing of a Beatles’ EP released by Odeon records.

MEO 245 began writing and performing their own music on the local pub/club circuit, their early style influenced by the likes of Bowie, Yes and Roxy Music, with a bit of Zeppelin thrown in. Vocalist Chris Ball returned home to Tasmania within a year, leaving the band to carry on as a quartet. During the same period Mark Kellett replaced Mick Wilson on bass.
MEO 245 were signed to Mushroom Records and issued their debut single ‘Lady Love’ in October 1980. The song was your typical melodic synth laden pop song, not a million miles away from the likes of Machinations and Dear Enemy in ensuing years. Paul Northam’s vocals remind me a bit of Dave Mason from The Reels.

The band scored an appearance on Countdown, boosting the profile of the song immeasurably, though it still only hit a moderate chart position in Australia of #43 in early 1981. Interestingly, in attempting to track down details of the Beatles French EP release, I came across a website that lists the week to week top 10 songs in France by measure of airplay popularity. For a period of several weeks during mid ‘82, "Lady Love" is listed as high as #2, though I’ve not uncovered any details as to sales figures in France.
"Lady Love" really is a great song and has a terrific 'hook riff' that should have made this a major hit world wide.
On Christmas Eve 1980, MEO 245 performed a show at Storey Hall RMIT in Melbourne, with the show recorded and broadcast by Melbourne radio station 3RRR. I plan to post this show in the near future if there is interest, so leave a comment if you're interested.

MEO 245 followed up "Lady Love" with the stand alone single "Marching Feet", which is a great track, and "Jewels", though both missed the charts.
MEO 245’s debut album ‘Screen Memory’ followed soon after. The album title is a term taken from the textbook ‘A Critical Dictionary Of Psychoanalysis’. The whole Bowie influence rang throughout the album (similar to Flowers / Icehouse), with the stimulus of Joy Division and XTC also evident. ‘Screen Memory’ peaked at #69 in late 1981, with another single "Other Places" (#44) almost matching the performance of "Lady Love".
During April/May ‘82 MEO 245 recorded the 12" Mini LP ‘Rites Of Passage’, which featured the singles "Sin City" and "Summer Girl". Unfortunately, this LP was a complete disappointment in my opinion and fell well short of their debut album.

Immediately following the release of ‘Rites Of Passage’ bassist Kellett took a passage to leave the group, replaced by Anthony Moore. Moore’s tenure with the band would be short, as during January ‘83 key member Paul Brickhill left MEO 245 to join The Little Heroes. Soon after MEO 245’s number was up, and the band called it quits.
Keyboardist Paul Brickhill played with The Little Heroes on that group’s final album ‘Watch The World’. Drummer Campbell Laird joined Soldiers Of Fortune, whilst guitarist Paul Northam later played with Luxury Device. Circa 1997 drummer Campbell Laird was living in New York and working as a freelance cartoonist/illustrator. Paul Brickhill (keyboards) was head of the Australian Ballet School, Paul Northam (vocals/guitar) was running a Melbourne based screen printing business, and Mark Kellet (bass) was a carpenter.
In 1998 Mushroom Records repackaged and re-released ‘Screen Memory’ on CD, and the band reformed to perform at the Mushroom Evolution Concert (25th Anniversary).
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This post is a mixture of CD and Vinyl rips, all taken at 320kps. I have included full artwork for both CD and LP releases and altered track listing accordingly for my bonus tracks. I have substituted the 'Rite of Passage' tracks (previously included in the CD release) with what I consider to be a better selection of tracks taken from non-album singles and live recordings. I have also included full scans of single covers and labels for the 'true collectors'. One thing that stands out with this album is the record label itself. Unlike the usual Mushroom label, Mushroom records released this album with a totally different look (see below)
I really liked MEO 245 in the 70'80's and saw them play on several occasions at La Trobe Uni and a nightclub in Preston, whose name escapes me at the moment. Perhaps if I had a better 'Screen Memory' I could remember LOL !

REPOST:  At the request of a blog follower, I'm adding a FLAC rip, taken from my vinyl album, along with the bonus tracks which are also from vinyl. Nice fresh copies folks

Track Listing
01 - Other Places

02 - Jewels

03 - Burning Bridges

04 - Promises

05 - Closing In

06 - White Lies

07 - Will He Ever

08 - So Far Away

09 - Generator

10 - Wrong World

Bonus Tracks

11 - Lady Love (A-Side Single 1980)

12 - Letters and Numbers (B-Side Single 1980)

13 - Other Places Live (Mushroom Evolution Concert 1980)
14 - Marching Feet (A-Side Single 1981)

15 - Somebody's Time (B-Side Single Live 1981)
 

16 - Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa (B-Side Single Live 1981)
17 - Wrong World (Rocking Australia Live 1982)
 

18 - Closing In (Rocking Australia Live 1982)
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Band members:
Paul Brickhill (keyboards/vocals)

Paul Northam (guitar/vocals)

Mark Kellett (bass)

Campbell Laird (drums)

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MEO 245 MP3 Link (146Mb)

MEO 245 FLAC Link (413Mb) New link added 5/11/2016
 

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for this should be good listening, I have one LP of these guys and didn't know this one was out there thanks mate.

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  2. Hello, is the track listing to the Rites Of Passage EP as per tracks 11-16 on the reissue of Screen Memory? Some sites claim the EP only had four tracks. Can anyone clear this up? Info on this great band is scarce.

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  3. Yes Karl it is. Rites of Passages the mini album had 6 tracks.
    Listing as it appears on the Screen Memory reissue:
    11. Sin City
    12. All Depends
    13. The Waiting Room
    14. Summer Girl (released also as a Single)
    15. Sweethearts and Roses
    16. Rites of Passage
    17. Lady Love (which was not on Screen Memory when first released)

    The Rites of Passages Mini Album got good reviews and was departure
    from the more pop Screen Memory.

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  4. Thanks for the taking the time to respond, Campbell. Hope you're still playing the drums. Screen Memory is the finest of Australian albums. The songs and atmosphere are supreme! And it still lives on through the younger generations. The sign of a classic is not how many copies it sells but it's impact 30 years down the track. Rites of Passage is a weapon too.

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  5. Would like to hear this band/record - but it seems the link is broken?

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  6. Hi Steinar
    I've just checked the link and all looks OK.
    The only catch with 4share.com is that you need to have an account with them. This is easy to do and costs nothing. (No strings attached, no unwanted email spam etc)
    There are plenty of sites that use 4shared services, so would be worth your while creating an account. Good luck

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  7. I knew Paul Northam when he was in Meo 245. My recollection is that my brother Stephen Gleeson was involved in the design of the Rites of Passage cover. I can remember owning a TShirt with that cover art on it.
    Garry Gleeson

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  8. Mick Wilson, spectacle maker in Reservoir, still makes a complete spectacle of himself.

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  9. 'Screen Memory' is a fabulous album. I was turned on to MEO245 in the early 1980s when I was living in Darwin. A local group of ex-pat Tasmanians ('Rank Ankle', later 'Ankle', for nostalgia buffs) used to cover several songs from the album - 'Other Places', 'Jewels' and 'Wrong World' and took every opportunity to publicise the record. I was delighted to find the CD with the bonus 'Rites of Passage' material and it goes with me everywhere. A fitting legacy from a band whose light shone all too fleetingly.

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  10. Did you ever post the 3RRR gig? I remember hearing it on the radio. Would love to hear it again!

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    1. I've got a couple of Radio Shows featuring MEO245 I can post - but not sure if 3RRR related. Stay Tuned

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  11. Thanks. I really appreciate your efforts.

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  12. hi good day

    please flac or wav version :D

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    Replies
    1. Hi Harry - I'll repost this in FLAC for ya, but might be without some of the bonus tracks (which were not my original rips). Stay tuned buddy - should have something in the next week

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