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Hellacopters | Cream of the Crap | review | rock | Lollipop

The Hellacopters

Cream of the Crap (Gearhead)
by Brian Varney

This is sort of a no-brainer, really. Fine as much of the music on this CD is, there should be a sticker saying "For Geeks Only" on the jewel case. The first in a proposed multi-volume series of compilation CDs collecting songs from the band's approximately 108,000 7" single releases, Cream of the Crap!'s biggest selling point for the afore-mentioned geeks is that it collects all three songs from the band's ultra-rare (sells for upwards of $200 on eBay) debut 7". Though the tracks as presented here don't have the geek perks (the single is on colored vinyl, includes a comic book, will fetch the paper), this is at least a chance for many diehards to hear these songs. And, having heard them for the first time, many of them will probably be very glad they didn't pay $200 for that privilege since, as time has taught the record collector again and again, rare does not always equal good.

There is, however, plenty of finery to be had elsewhere on this disc. "Crimson Ballroom," which was originally released on a 7" given away with Gearhead Magazine, is among the band's finest tunes, and sludgy closer "Lowered Pentangles (Anything At All)," whose presentation here is a great enhancement over its original appearance on a rare, shitty-sounding 7" released on Anyway Records, is another favorite. Though a bit heavy on cover songs (almost always among the band's less memorable moments), there is quite enough here to satisfy the stamp-collecting 7" geeks out there (of which I, as owner of over 20 singles by the band, must include myself), and it's nice to have these songs compiled onto a single disc with excellent remastered sound.

However, effusive praise aside, I would recommend that any casual fans make this CD their last Hellacopters purchase. Singles collections are almost always made solely for the benefit of the completists in the band's audience, and this one is no exception. Again, there's nothing wrong with the tracks collected here, but the band's studio albums (especially the last two, High Visibility and By the Grace of God), are unquestionably the place to start.
(PO Box 421219 San Francisco, CA 94142)

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