An alternative rock band from Australia, Ammonia has made a name for themselves producing post-Nirvana songs including "Face Down" and "Little Death." The band consists of Dave Johnstone as guitarist and vocalist, Allan Balmont on the drums, and Simon Hensworth on bass. Although the band is popular in Australia and among some alternative rock fans in the United States, their sound is not definable among the other alternative rock groups. The group's album Mint 400, contains 12 songs which will bring the band much success with the hits "Suzi-Q," "Drugs," and "Ken Carter."
The group formed in 1992 with Dave Johnstone and Allan Balmont. The guitarist and drummer were then performing under the name Fuzzswirl. It wasn't until 1993 that bassist Simon Hensworth joined the group and the band's name was changed to Ammonia. The group's success was due mostly to its hometown style of recording and word of mouth. The trio released a cassette of recordings and became a well-known band in Perth. Trying to further the band's reputation and success, Ammonia began touring in 1994 in larger cities in Australia such as Sydney. Their song "Orange Juice" received great attention in Sydney, and in the summer of 1994, Ammonia received a recording contract with the Murmur label. The group's first album, In a Box, received rave reviews. Sleepwalking, the band's second album, was released in 1995.
Ammonia took its musical inspiration from everyday experiences. The group's song "Drugs" is about apathy toward drugs and its title song, "In a Box," is about living a sheltered life. The group came up with this hit living and performing in Perth and trying to further their career with gigs and performances outside of Perth. Mint 400, the group's third release, is about selling out. The album received its title from an auto race described in the book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The album has been released both in Australia and the United States. Audiences applauded the group because of their musical style, adopting different sounds depending on the mood and messages of their songs. Mint 400 was number 15 on the Australian music charts.
Despite the 300-400 other alternative post-Nirvana bands that exist, Ammonia has managed to develop a style of its own. Their songs demonstrate a passion that does not exist in most alternative rock bands. The band continues to release original work while recording some of audiences favorites. Mint 400 includes ten original songs along with remakes of "In a Box" and "Sleepwalking." Ammonia's success continues to increase because of the demand for passionate loud bands. ~ Kim Summers