The “kitchen sink” approach to punk has been the death knoll of many a band. “Endless experimentation” gets tedious because it seems like the band is testing the waters of musical escape routes. (Lesser Fishbone and Bad Brains records come to mind.) Sometimes, you just want to be rocked instead of diddled by a wet noodle in your ear. (I’m all for “experimentation.” Just do it without hitting record. Hit record when the experiment was a success.) Yet, with the Sass Dragons, they’re all over the fuckin’ place—from sounding like Weezer and The Dwarves simultaneously in the same song, to a track that sounds like an STD’d Sesame Street stoop jam—and it works. Much like The Weird Lovemakers (seek out Electric Chump and Back 20 for more evidence) could go from straight-ahead scorchers to ranchero to Doo Wop without losing momentum, the Sass Dragons have hot glued and belt fought something into submission that could have been a big, fuckin’ stupendous mess into a fuckin’ glorious mess. (With a staunch anti-Alan Thicke message.) Lesser bands, just listen and enjoy. Don’t try to copy ‘em, because you’ll sound like dill weeds diarrheaing into your fans’ ears. Awesome in the original biblical sense, not the Kirk Cameron, just-found-god sense.
–todd (Johann’s Face/Let’s Pretend)