When the producers of the 70s action TV show The Return Of The Saint needed a punk band to play in the background of a club scene, they turned not to any of the usual London suspects, but to Simon Templar’s Brisbane namesakes. A corny little joke, perhaps, but that’s not to take anything away from the group’s lasting influence on the scene.
Chris Bailey and Ed Keupper were out of the traps earlier than the Brits, though, first playing together while still at school in 1974, bonding over a shared passion for The Stooges and MC5. They moved to London in ’77 and signed to Harvest (an odd home, given the bulk of their prog-leaning labelmates) to release the pivotal (I’m) Stranded, one of three original albums featured in their entirety on this box set. Already they were displaying a heightened musicality compared to most of the Brit pack (Demolition Girl, Nights In Venice) but with no less ferocity or attitude.
The following year’s Eternally Yours found them broadening their palette, injecting 60s soul motifs into Know Your Product and blues elements into A Minor Aversion. Prehistoric Sounds, also from 1978, and the last long player by the original line-up, moved further away from the bloodrush of punk and suggested a growing sophistication. Fans who still prefer the band’s earlier venom are catered for here by the inclusion of a full live show from London’s Hope & Anchor, recorded not long after The Saints’ arrival in the UK. Terry Staunton