In 1980 long before they hit it big worldwide, INXS released their self-titled debut album. While most of the material on this album would be unfamiliar to all but the most die-hard of INXS fans there is something about the music that makes unmistakably INXS. There’s a cohesiveness and chemistry in the band and you can even hear the beginnings of Michael Hutchence’s self-assured front-man swagger in his vocals.
What is perhaps most remarkable about this release is the strength of the material. While INXS hadn’t yet found their sound, indeed they seem to be trying a handful of different musical styles on this release to determine which they were most comfortable with. It’s perhaps that adventurousness that the album owes its strengths.
On the flipside, the greatest strength of this debut is also one of its greatest flaws. Because the band was trying so many different styles they never fully invested themselves in anyone of those styles. And while you can hear the band’s cohesiveness on each individual track, as an album the material is so varied there’s a lack of that cohesiveness spread out over the album as a whole.
This album is a definite testament to INXS versatility and musical ability and just about any of these songs could have been released as singles but without a commitment to any specific direction the album lacks any direction at all. Thankfully the band would later find that direction and become a pop music juggernaut worldwide a few years later.
Generally this release would only find fans either in the most die-hard of fans or with those truly curious of the band’s evolution. If you’re one who is familiar with INXS’ hits there are glimpses of that kind of material in songs like In Vain, Roller Skating, or Body Language but for the most part the material on this album is considerably different from the INXS you’re likely familiar with.
INXS debut (allmusic.com)
INXS debut (wikipedia)
INXS (official website)
Inxs (Self-titled 1980 AUS Import)