FEAR: American Beer: CD

Well, it’s Fear all right. At least a couple of the songs are nearly 20 years old, those being a cover of “Hoochie Coochie Man,” (originally featured in the movie “Get Crazy,” in which Lee had a major part) and “Surgery,” which is the song they used to do about Josef Mengele, albeit with some shoddily reworked lyrics. There’s also a few others I could swear I heard at least 15 years ago, like “Beerheads” and “Bud Club,” and the song “Hard ‘Cotto’ Salami” is basically a retooling of “Beef Baloney.” The good news is that this disc, although not as incendiary as much of their earlier work, is up in the top three of all their releases. The songs are catchy, (which was always the case with Fear at their best) the band is tight and Lee’s voice is still one of the best of any musical genre. The sarcasm is kept way in the back and there is a sense of introspection to some of the lyrics, but when you think they’re getting a little soft, along comes yet another song about beer. I really expected this to blow really hard, so I’m a little surprised that it doesn’t, and I’m thankful that Lee has avoided making a total mockery of one of my favorite bands of all time.

 –jimmy (Hall of Records, PO Box 69281, West Hollywood, CA 90069)