F.M. KNIVES: Useless and Modern: CD

Holy crap, what rock did these guys crawl out from under? Everything I can find about these guys point to a little Northern California hellhole known as Sacramento as being their home, but, based solely on the sound of this, you’d swear they was a bunch of Limeys. Featuring former members of a group known as Los Huevos, F.M. Knives have recorded THE quintessential album of 1977 England, the greatest album the Buzzcocks never recorded, provided they had borrowed the Damned’s equipment and nicked the best riffs that the Undertones and the Boys could muster. Yet this doesn’t sound dated in the least. While obviously taking their cues from punk rock’s past, there seems to be an informed sensibility and energy at work here that keeps this from sounding rehashed and tired and instead as timeless, vigorous and crucial as the best of any of their apparent influences. Don’t believe me? I dare any doubters to compare classic ravers like the Undertones’ “Male Model,” the Boys’ “Sick On You” and the Buzzcocks’ “I Don’t Mind” to the tracks “DOA,” “Summer Holiday” and the title track and tell me that the latter don’t hold their own. Pick up twenty copies or so (to ensure you have a spare when you wear the previous one out) and tell ’em it came with the highest of recommendations.

 –jimmy (Moo-La-La)