OK, let me say immediately that this debut effort is far from a good album. It’s fair at best. It sounds like a rough collection of unrelated material cobbled together. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in an INXS review, the band was better at singles than albums. There’s always filler on their records. Of course, this is no exception.

It’s Australian pub rock infused with a healthy dose of keyboard-heavy new wave. In fact, on a few tracks like Learn to Smile and In Vain (both equal highlights here), the synth is out front and blaring. It has a rough and crude sound too, indicative of the cheap, early 80s relic that it is. To be honest, INXS never really got away from this sound completely until Listen Like Thieves. For all of the production money sunk into Shabooh Shoobah and The Swing, they’re really just updated versions of this record, with slightly better songs and stronger songwriting.

There was only one single released from this record – Just Keep Walking, and it’s a doozy. They wanted to release In Vain but were vetoed by their then record company. Apart from the aforementioned Learn to Smile, the only other standout track is album closer Wishy Washy. Everything else is pretty much faceless. Not a great start IMHO, all things considered, but it got INXS in the charts and got them going on to greater and more global things.

inxs first album