The Expression

The Expression was an Australian new wave electro-pop band from Sydney that released two 1983–85 albums on Mushroom Records and charted with “With Closed Eyes.”

Members: Dowling Neville (keyboard, vocals), Haran Tom (vocals, guitar, percussion), Henkenberg Bill (drums), Hopes Steve (drums), Lumsdaine Tim (bass), Manassah Stephen (bass), Slingerland Guy (drums), Wong-Yen Andrew (guitar)


The Expression formed in Sydney from the remnants of Visitor, an unsigned symphonic-rock Perth band that slogged the late-Seventies West Coast live circuit. Visitor featured singer Tom Haran, guitarist Andre Wong-Yes, and keyboardist Neville Dowling, a onetime member of the Dave Warner Band.

In 1981, the trio headed east and linked with two Sydney musicians: bassist Stephen Manassah and (ex-Renee Geyer Band) drummer Steve Hopes. They conquered the local live circuit with a musical blend of tight, electric guitar riffs and luminous synth melodies: traits similar to recent English heavyweights (Ultravox, Duran Duran, The Fixx) and Oceanic acts (Icehouse, Mi-Sex, The Sherbs). In late 1982, they signed with Mushroom Records.

First Two Singles

In February 1983, The Expression released their first single: “With Closed Eyes” backed with “Nothing Changes,” both Tom Haran originals.

A. “With Closed Eyes”
B. “Nothing Changes”

“With Closed Eyes”  reached No. 18 in Melbourne and No. 27 on Australia’s national chart, the Kent Music Report.

In August, The Expression dropped their second single: the Haran|Haran sides “Decisions” and “More Like a Feeling Than a Taste.”

A. “Decisions”
B. “More Like a Feeling Than a Taste”

The Expression cut both singles with producer Charles Fisher, a veteran soundman of Seventies Aussie rock (Greg Sneddon, Ol’ 55, Radio Birdman, Southern Cross) whose recent clients included Moving Pictures and The Hitmen.

The Expression

The Expression released their self-titled debut album in October 1983 on Mushroom. It features their two pre-released a-sides (“With Closed Eyes,” “Decisions”) and three additional Tom Haran numbers: “Right to a Slice,” “About Tomorrow,” and “Satisfied Strangers.”

Neville Dowling submitted “Total Eclipse” and co-wrote two songs (“Present Communication,” “Keep Appointments”) with Haran. They group-wrote “Dawn, Day & Sleep” with Andrew Wong Yen, who contributed “Dawn, Day & Sleep.”

Haran plays acoustic guitar and percussion on The Expression, features features synth work by co-vocalist Dowling and guitarist Yen.

A1. “Present Communication” (4:56)
A2. “With Closed Eyes” (3:38)
A3. “Total Eclipse” (5:26)
A4. “Keep Appointments” (4:48)
A5. “Right to a Slice” (3:18)

B1. “Dawn, Day & Sleep” (4:53)
B2. “Decisions” (3:36)
B3. “You & Me” (5:07)
B4. “About Tomorrow” (4:37)
B5. “Satisfied Strangers” (4:06)

Sessions occurred in Sydney at Trafalgar Studios and EMI 301 with Charles Fisher, who produced the album in sequence with titles by DD Smash, Flaming Hands, QED, and Runners.

The Expression credits three engineers: Aussie–Canadian soundman Alan Thorne (FM, Ian Thomas, Ishan People, Saga), kiwi John Sayers (Axiom, Brian Cadd, Coloured Balls, Masters Apprentices), and ex-Bakery guitarist Peter Walker (Benjamin Hugg, Finch, Skyhooks, Laughing Clowns).

Designer Alan Scholz illustrated the cover art, which depicts three female mannequin heads adorned with New Romantic makeup. Scholz’s jagged modernist visuals also appear on releases by Split Enz (The Beginning of the Enz), Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons (“Shape I’m In”), Skyhooks (Hot For the Orient), Russell Morris & The Rubes (Almost Frantic), Models (The Pleasure of Your Company…), and Dance Exponents (Prayers Be Answered).

In North American, The Expression appeared on A&M with a different cover that shows a silhouetted guitar-playing figure, obscured between columns by a gold curtain. Both versions contain the same inner-sleeve: a cut-and-paste monochrome group shot with intense expressions.

An edited version of “Total Eclipse” became the album’s third single, backed with the “Round And Round,” a group-written exclusive.

B. “Round And Round”

In March 1984, “Present Communication” reappeared as the fourth and final single, backed with “Three Four Day,” a new group-written exclusive.

B. “Three Four Day”

Lineup Change

For the tour behind the album, Steve Hopes cleared out for ex-Eurogliders drummer Guy Slingerland. After promotions wrapped, The Expressions shrunk down to Tom Haran and Neville Dowling. In mid-1984, they flew to England and recorded a second album with sessions musicians.


The Expression released their second album, Conscience, in July 1985 on Mushroom. It features nine Haran–Dowling originals, including both sides of their fifth single, “Small Brave Land” and “Old Mankind.” Future hitmaker Samantha Brown sings backing vocals on “The Light of Day.”

A1. “Small Brave Land” (4:07)
A2. “Run the Hill” (4:30)
A3. “One More Time” (3:50)
A4. “Old Mankind” (4:10) credits former bassist Steve Manassah as a third writer.
A5. “You’re Still Running” (3:41)
B1. “The Story Goes On” (5:12)
B2. “The Light of Day” (3:58)
B3. “Glasshouse” (5:02)
B4. “The Waiting Game” (6:08)

Sessions took place in London at Abbey Road Studios with Sade soundman Ben Rogan.
Producer – Ben Rogan (4, 7, 9, 10, 12), The Expression, Wally Brill (1–3, 5, 6, 8)
Engineer – Ben Rogan (4, 7, 9, 10, 12), Simon Smart (1–3, 5, 6, 8)

Vocals, Guitar, Percussion – Tom Haran
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Neville Dowling

Bass – Steve Greetham
Drums – Gary Burke
Guitar – Chris Jarret
Guitar [Electric, Nylon] – Vinnie Zumo
Saxophone – Tim Sanders

Art Direction & Design – Michael Ross
Illustration – Henry Iles
Photography – Nick Night

CD Bonus Tracks
10. “Shake Up” (5:21)
11. “I’d Walk Miles” (6:26)
12. “Missionary Soup” (9:17)


  • The Expression (1983)
  • Conscience (1985)
  • Rare & Un-Released (2006)


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