Having rocked Brisbane in the ‘80s, Ups & Downs make a grand return to the music scene with a new album and tour in April.
Armed with a classic Rickenbacker-driven, ‘60s psychedelic flavour, Ups & Downs scored hits in their heyday with their single ‘The Living Kind’ as well as a cover of Neil Diamond’s ‘Solitary Man’.
While the band missed their opportunity to make it big back then, they’re back with a new album, ‘The Sky’s In Love With You’, set for release soon.
The first taste of Ups & Downs’ new record is single ‘Disco In My Head’, a track vocalist Greg Atkinson says reflects both the band’s heritage and their new direction. “We think the new material is by no means identical in approach to the old material,” Greg says, “but it’s still got a very identifiable Ups & Downs sound to it and it’s a very upbeat song.
“I think it’s also good when you’re beginning to put parts of a new album out there, to put out something that will get an immediate reaction, whereas there are songs on the album that will take a little while to sink in.
“We’re very happy with the results of the album and ‘Disco In My Head’ is a pretty powerful song and we thought that was a good track to give a preview.”
In the years since their disbandment, Ups & Downs have come back together on several occasions to perform reunion shows, but the new album also marks a new determination for the band to reform in earnest, and not just as a nostalgia act.
“Because of the reunion shows we’ve done over the years, I don’t necessarily think people thought Ups & Downs were back together again as a real entity,” Greg says.
“That wasn’t necessarily our intention back then either, but what we’re doing now is going out to present the band as a modern band. Obviously we are an older band and the bulk of our audience will be of that period and that age group, but I think there’s a real freshness to this album that would appeal across the board to a lot of people who love guitar music and love melodic pop.”
Ups & Downs make their return with their original line-up of Greg and his brother Darren, joined by John Flade and Peter Shaw, the only change being the addition of a new bassist, Alex Ronayne. They will play a home town show as well as gigs in Melbourne and Sydney next month.
Greg hopes they’ll also be able to launch the new album, which he says is all but ready for release.
He says the shows will be a mix of classic tracks and road-testing the new material. “The older songs are so well entrenched and we played them a lot over the time,” he says.
“So even though we have to rehearse and familiarise ourselves again, they’re pretty well formed, whereas the newer songs we obviously don’t have that much experience with.
“All songs take a little while to work in, so the new songs will be a challenge; we’ll pick a few from the new album, find a good spot in the set and mix them up with the older material.”
Ups & Downs Shows
Sat 1 Apr - New Globe Theatre (Brisbane)
Fri 7 Apr - Northcote Social Club (Melbourne)
Sat 8 Apr - Newtown Social Club (Sydney)