The band were moving well away from their punk roots despite their punk followers wish that they’d never play anything else, developing an interesting post punk sound a la Killing Joke, dark and interesting thanks to Vandenhoven’s wandering melodic basslines and Johnston’s hooky guitar playing.
The band released one album “Southern Front” through Failsafe Records which was mostly recorded at Tandem Studios with engineer Eric Johns, guitarist with 70’s disco stars Heat Wave (hit single “Boogie Nights”), and co-produced by Rob Mayes (first production job), singer Heapworth, and Vandenhoven.
The last track on the album is actually from the group’s Evasive Action line-up recordings, though it was sung by Heapworth and not Evasive Action’s main vocalist Eugene Butcher so technically it was a Southern Front recording. This track was recorded at Nightshift Studios.
The band filmed a video for the track for $100 at 4 am on the hills overlooking Christchurch using the talents of one Peter Bannon, who went on to be one of New Zealand top fashion photographers, though obviously not on the basis of this rough-and-fast video.
Hepworth left for Australia soon after the release of the album, and the band continued on with Gibson singing and drumming. The band later took on singer Alan Clark (Banshee Reel) and recorded one song at Nightshift studios before splitting. The song was never released.
– Failsafe Records
- Eric Vandenhoven (Bass)
- Phil Johnston (Guitar)
- Mark Gibson (Drums/Vocals)
- Harry Heapworth (Vocals/Guitar)
- Southern Front (1985, Failsafe Records, SAFE004]