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Electric Frankenstein | Sick Songs | review | rock | Lollipop
Sick Songs (Onefoot)
by Craig Regala
Three reissues and a new one from these prolific punkrock to rockpunk rabble-rousers. The new one is Annie's Grave, and we'll get to that. If you aren't cognizant of the growly/musclely buzzbombs these guys have been heavin' since the mid-'90s, here's the opportunity to blow this week's beer and dope allowance on noncomestables, rocker. So here comes the big push... The groundwork's been laid by many, many bands - bands who've been documented by the 13 Fistful of Rock* compilations that rhythm guitarist Sal "Malcolm" Canzonieri has shepherded into existence. Bands like his own, E-fuckin'-lectic Frankenstein, a dense, riff-riding unit crunching early Kiss-style hard rock into the first couple Kinks singles via the hard rock'n'roll side of punk/kickass metal all untided up with the vicious edge early Black Flag/Angry Samoans/Adolescents bequeathed us all. Too bad only some of "us" decided to use it...
The closest actual comparison for the roar of it would probably be the early Supersuckers, both bands having worn out third copies of Ace of Spades, Young, Loud and Snotty, Damned, Damned, Damned, If You Want Blood, You've Got It and Road To Ruin.** The vortex of their "thing" sidesteps damn near any "pop" influence, leaving the bang in the riffs and the crash in the cymbals to work with the vocal cadences to fishhook the ear while the bass/drums stroke the third gear to forth gear to third gear to skid-thru-the-stop sign rhythmic gut-punch. So yeah, for the casual listener, it's gonna hump the same, but for those who grew up on stuff like the aforementioned records - and hung in there - it'll work the hell out of a half an hour, 180 seconds or so at a time.
OK, the platters in chronological order; Conquers, Time, Sick. There you go. Really, these guys do what they do - jump in anywhere. Even the covers, and they do at least one per, are put through the mill and Frankensteized. Naked Raygun, Motörhead, AC/DC, Crime, VOM, F-Word, doesn't matter... They roll 'em and smoke 'em. Personally, I'd pick The Time is Now cuz it has the early-'70s-tinged garage of "Teenage Shutdown" and "Demolition Joyride," a song (and title) so great I tried to jam it down a couple guy's throats for their band name.
So here we are at Annie's Grave; another pie, another slice. The borrowed tune on this one's a good one from the second Dead Boys album, "3rd Generation Nation," done up with the zim and zigor the Dead Boys used live but lacked on their recording. Hey! More tasty smash 'em up starts with the compacted leather'n'denim punch of the opener, "Already Dead," through the Weirdo-esque*** heavied-up speedhead chatter punk of "Get Off" to the riffed-out "Graveyard Dragrace," a kangaroo of a tune with legs named "Celibate Rifles" and "Radio Birdman," with "Property of the Cosmic Psychos" stenciled on its tail. The titular cut scoots like New Bomb Turks, the next-to-last like a bulkier Candy Snatchers and the rest bounce around a rubber room the way you like it. The last song, "The Perfect Crime," is rockin' some house, proving the goods aren't studio-only. Pure pork.
(PO Box 30727 Long Beach, CA 90853; PO Box 146546 Chicago, IL 60614)
* A series of comps full of great rock/punk/ roll/garage stomp. Buy #s one and five today.
** Records that helped destroy my freshman year of college, five of the 20 best ever.
*** Weirdo's were an ace West Coast '70s band who doppleganged the early Damned and defined "that patented berserk American overdrive," sadly under-recorded.