MORAL CRUX : I Was a Teenage Teenager: LP

May 03, 2011

I was first set hip to Ephrata’s ((Moses Lake’s???)) finest circa 1984, when long-tenured punk scenester and all around bon vivant Pat Smick mailed me a copy of some demo or another ((from which i have been known to fruitlessly request the smash hit “Brain of My Own” to this day)). There wasn’t really much noticeable change in the band’s anthemic, vaguely Anglo, faintly political, Generation X-styled-vocals over a blockier, slightly rock’n’rolly, early-80’s-not-quite-hardcore guitar-based backbone in the fifteen year span between that cassette and the original release of this album, and there hasn’t really been that much change to speak of between 1999 and this reissue, either. We like that, because we like Moral Crux, and we don’t really want them to change much over twenty-seven year periods, and they don’t, which pleases us. So, bearing in mind that any given Moral Crux album probably sounds plus-or-minus 15% as good as any other Moral Crux album —that is to say, all other things being reasonably but not quite equal—a young punk lad or lass, when confronted with reissue wave forty-six of Moral Crux albums one, four, three, eight and twelve, might wonder if, given that this one has got probably the best cover of the bunch, and pretty much the best album title of —oh, i don’t know, EVER— if this particular platter should not be The One Moral Crux Album That One Should Buy, Were One Only To Be Buying One Moral Crux Album. To this, i’d respond “eh, probably not.” Great title ((and relative overall homogeneity of quality of output)) aside, this one always seemed like one of the band’s more slapped-together releases ((as these things go for Moral Crux)): It’s a lot of songs from a lot of different recording sessions spread out across a several year period—with a rare lineup change in the middle—and includes songs released on a number of compilations, a split single, and a cover of “Teenage Kicks” ((which is not at all a bad version; then again, if you’re gonna put “Teenage Kicks” on an album, what comes next? “Blitzkrieg Bop?” “Louie Louie?” “Chopsticks?”)). Basically, half the album is miscellaneous odds and ends, covering the period of the mid-90’s where it seemed like the band was finally out of gas, and following thru to their triumphant half of the Moral Crux/Boris The Sprinkler split, whereby their side’s concise Ramoneyness kicked our side’s ass but good, sparking a sort of neo-Renaissance ((or, at bare minimum, a second wind and/or new leash on life)) and a veritable tizzy of activity and interest, though, again, the band really doesn’t make bad records, and there are a number of standout tracks ((the raucous “Booked On Suspicion,” “Breakdown” from the “Punk USA” comp, and the compact and boffo “Don’t Need You” from the aforementioned split)). So anyway, if you’re only buying one Moral Crux album today, i’d probably direct you to their 1987 debut ((i know, what an original thought, right?)). If, as with Schaefer beer, you’re having more than one, then you might as well pick this one up, too, because god DAMN that is a good album title. BEST SONG: “Don’t Need You”  BEST SONG TITLE: “Single Bullet Homicide”  QUALITY OF 3D EFFECTS: Underwhelming ((although the 3D aspect of things did provide me with the revelation that this album is possibly the band’s “Anthem For A New Tomorrow”))

 –norb (Jailhouse!)