One of the better things to happen in Australian music back in the 1980s was a band called Mental As Anything. In the slang of the day, to say someone was “mental” was an insult. It implied eccentricity and stupidity rather than mental illness, but even so it was a bit unpleasant.
The Mentals, as they became known, took defiant ownership of the term. Singing quirky songs about life on the creative, dope-smoking fringes of suburban Australia, they were odd and out there and proud of it.
One of the band was Martin Plaza – not his real name, it’s a place in central Sydney – and he released a solo album in 1986. A single from it, a version of a 1960s Brit pop hit “Concrete and Clay”, made the top ten in Australia.
But Planet Vinyl is all about found sound, the unexpected, the unfamiliar, and that is what lies on the B side. “New Suit” is a song about a man who has bought a second-hand suit, and thinks he looks pretty sharp in it.
My new suit, it looks so good
My new suit, it fits so well
My new suit, I think you will agree
My new suit, looks good on me
A silly, lightweight song which didn’t even get on the album – but it is just the sort of whimsical, fun celebration of the ordinary which the Mentals did so well. I love it.
- Artist: Martin Plaza
- Single Title: Concrete and Clay
- Track: Side B “New Suit”
- Format: 7”, 45 rpm
- Label: CBS BA 3404
- Manufactured in: Australia
- Year: 1986
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