Songs of 84: Soul Kind of Feeling / Dynamic Hepnotics

In late 1984, going into 1985, my prized possession at the time was an LP named “Choose 1985”, a compilation album assembled in collaboration between three once major, now defunct labels: Festival Records (now part of Warner Music Australia), RCA Records (now part of Sony) and EMI Music (now split between Universal and Warner Music). The album captures a snapshot of big charting singles on the various sub-labels that these three groups had between them. As a then-8 year old, this was a collection of the coolest tracks ever, and I played it so much as to wear away the grooves such that the record was almost transparent when held up to the light.

In retrospect, it looks like a hodgepodge, a collection of tunes with no musical link to them. However that was the nature of the pop charts at the time. Tastes were broad amongst the record buying public of the time, and this collection shows it.

Starting with the massive selling hit “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr, and ending 18 tracks later and 70 minutes later with the tragically horrid “Agadoo” by Black Lace, the record covered earnest peons by U2 (“Pride (In The Name of Love)”), the bull-in-a-china-shop energy of Jimmy Barnes’ debut solo single (“No Second Prize”), the indie dancefloor grooves of Machinations (“No Say In It”) and the drag club party anthem by Divine (“You Think You’re a Man”).

In between the appearance of two legendary soul acts in the form of Hall and Oates (“Out Of Touch”) and The Pointer Sisters (“Jump”) at the start of side two of the original vinyl, was a track by a Sydney soul group calling themselves the Dynamic Hepnotics. “Soul Kind of Feeling” was all over the radio in the summer of 1984/85 and it was a massive top 5 hit single for the band. Their only big hit, in fact.

Formed in Sydney in 1979, Dynamic Hepnotics carved themselves out a unique sound rooted in American R&B and Southern Soul, in an era when big beer barns around the country had big, loud, sweaty rock bands playing full tilt to hundreds of punters lubricated with loads of alcohol.

The Hepnotics’ brand of soul and funk wasn’t necessarily going to fly in the rock music pubs of the capital cities. They played small clubs and festivals and anywhere that would have them. However, with a hit record under their belt, they became pop stars, and they found it hard to maintain that momentum that comes with fame. They toured hard, to the point of burnout, flaming out for good in 1986 after years of constantly replacing and recruiting new members.

“Soul Kind Of Feeling” is a track that isn’t a full on sonic barrage like a lot of classic soul tunes could be. “Feeling” uses the instruments sparingly in order to create space, and it builds a cool vibe to get drawn into. It sounded as great on FM radio as it did on the tightly wound grooves of that old LP of mine. It is a record that has stood the test of time, largely because it didn’t sound like anything else of its time.

The band have reclaimed the rights to their recordings and they are now readily available on the Bandcamp page, and via their website at

David Kowalski, a writer and podcaster, is celebrating songs that turn 40 this year.

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