If someone had told me twenty years ago that the next millennium would see a flood of bands who took the Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, and Social Distortion as their chief influences, I would have been elated. The Exploding Fuck Dolls have a great sound… almost too good. This is a band that toured as Deniz Tek’s backing group, eventually gave birth to U.S. Bombs, and featured a lead singer whose voice is such a dead ringer for Joe Strummer’s, the band should have been sued. And to think that when they started out in 1991, they looked like an unholy alliance between the Misfits and L.A. Guns. Crack the Safe is a collection of the band’s first seven years of action and is essential listening, especially for any less-than-fully-informed Rancid fan. Reading the liner notes is a bit disconcerting, considering the band’s intolerance for anything other than classic punk (the grunge scene irked them no end as is evidenced by the anti-Seattle screed “No Company Town”). Still, it pays to be focused, and on songs like “Satellite” (not the Pistols’ b-side), the anthem “American Bomb” and “Cheap Suits,” the band delivers the goods with relish. Like Sham 69, the Exploding Fuck Dolls probably inadvertently inspired a lot of knuckleheads, but whose fault is that? Crack the Safe is an excellent sampling of an excellent group, albeit one whose vision was often myopic and whose boots were caked in the mud of the past.