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Liberation | Songs To Benefit PETA | review | punk | compilation | Lollipop

Liberation: Songs To Benefit PETA

by Ewan Wadharmi

Have you heard the one about the PETA activist who changed her name to She thought it would be an improvement over her given name, Sue Happy. Hopefully, projects like Liberation will do damage control for all the frivolous lawsuits that mar the organization like spray paint on a mink stole.

Hot Water Music's vicious, slobbering "Remedy" may be worse than the cure. Too bad albums aren't required by law to open with ripping tunes like this. These guys are one of the last bastions of testosterone in popular music. "More Depalma, Less Fellini" proves that Good Riddance won't be shown up in the rabid rocking department. More serious than the title implies, the droning bass and precision drumming offer plenty to support the charging guitars. Goldfinger break out a hilarious indictment of Detroit's 2nd favorite son in "Fuck Ted Nugent." A sweet Aaron Neville impersonation frames the blistering insult fest that claims Farah Fawcett "wears the genitals of animals/because she can't stop smoking crack." The Faint narrowly avoids being Depeche Mode by providing a desperately urgent ball-buzzing synth backdrop. The cool "Agenda Suicide" is dark, but far too energetic to be self-pitying sap. On "Purina Hall of Fame," Propaghandi are back to fast-paced arena punk with Tool-like bridges. I'm not yearning for the new wave years, but I can do with less wanking. Good Charlotte show you can't be too rich or sound too much like Sugar Ray on the acoustic version of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." Yeah, you heard me: Fucking Sugar Ray. District 7's "Beyond the Shadows" is tight thrash like they did it back in the day. Double bass madness, ringing cymbals, and searing guitars with no frilly shit to bog it down.

Why can't people leave the Billy Bobs and Keanus of the world alone? Celebrities have earned the right, the obligation, to make asses of their Scott-Baio-selves on record. Frenzal Rhomb give the thumbs down to the Gladiator on the victorious "Russell Crowe's Band (Is a Fucking Pile of Shit.)" Story Of The Year wastes what could have been a really different driving sound with sub-par vocals. It ends out nü metal by a singer who can't decide between otherworldly Slayer croaking and Brian Adams' crooning. The Eyeliners' sentiment "I Could Never Hate You" is not reciprocated. These Go-Gos on speed make cutesy, repetative pablum. Fabulous Disaster could eat them alive. Anti-Flag brings that classic, brutal sound to the bass-driven "Bring Out Your Dead." Perfectly ruthless like The Exploited/GBH. Desaparecidos seem to have misplaced a pretty good idea. Fans of The Cure will think Robert Smith is hitting the pipe. The music is decent with sharp, slow bass and Johnny Marr guitar work. Bigwig combines addictive velocity with a touch of theatrics in the vocals. Punchy singing and crisp playing get the point across. "This House Is Not A Home" is a really good acoustic song by Midtown that would make a great cover. As it stands, the singer's Billy Joe inflections come off as goofy and cartoony. The Used have "Just a Little" on the Vans Warped CD as well. Don't they have any other crappy songs? "Clams Have Feelings Too" is primo NOFX featuring the silly lyrics "Actually they don't have central nervousness/clams have the right to smile/come to think it they don't have a face." The super-scrubby guitar and brisk drums move like a jack rabbit in a fox hole.

If all goes well, projects like this will raise awareness, whereas PETA's other tactics merely raise our guard. I secretly replaced the burgers at my BBQ with copies of this disc. Half the people couldn't tell the difference, the other half thought it tasted like high horse. I'm not saying anything else until I consult my lawyer.
(PO Box 193690 San Francisco, CA 94119)

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