I’ve been an unabashed Dickies fan for as long as I can remember. That said, I loathed this album when it first came out to the point that, up until now, it was the only one I actively refused to own. The wherefores involved in my detestation boiled down to one thing: a production that strived so hard for mainstream success that it effectively smoothed off all the gloriously jagged bits that made the Dickies sound like, well, the Dickies. The rhythm guitars were just lost in some void and “Dummy Up” sounded like some outtake from an aborted Dexy’s Midnight Runners album. And then there were the cover songs, the last refuge of the band’s true greatness, sullied by faithful interpretations of “Hair” and “Town Without Pity” rather than the ramped up approach that made their renditions of “Nights in White Satin,” “She,” and “Paranoid” on albums past such barnburners. Revisiting it some eighteen years later, I’ll grudgingly admit things aren’t as dire as previously believed. Sure, the covers still suck something awful and the rhythm guitars remain MIA, but the strength of songs like “Going Homo,” “Cross Eyed Tammy,” “Booby Trap” and others shine through the lackluster production. No doubt to make things that more enticing, the Killer Klowns five-song mini-LP has been tacked onto the end. Yeah, it still ain’t my favorite album by them, but it ain’t half as bad as I thought.
–jimmy (Captain Oi)