Nov 10, 2008

One thing i’ve always found tragically amazing is how poorly the original punk bands fare when they are forced to operate with the same level of resources as the rest of us. When i was fourteen or whatever and just getting into punk, bands like the Vibrators and Buzzcocks and 999 were like, you know, GOD or whatever to me. My friends and i all wanted to make records that sounded cool like their records did and looked cool like their records did—slabs of vinyl and graphics that were practically radioactive in their emanation of lethal punkly coolness. And, of course, we started making our records with our tiny little recording budgets in crappy little basement studios and slapping together our homemade little black and white cut-and-paste covers and what not, and, yeah, the stuff we made had a for-real DIY edge that a punk album on, say, Epic Records or whatever couldn’t possibly have—but, when all was said and done, we—or, at bare minimum, i—was always a little bummed that i/we couldn’t get the sound or the look of our records exactly right—we couldn’t make our records be these icons of high style like the ‘70s punks did, we could only make our records sit there and say “FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!”, which they oft-times did. All of which is well and good, up until the point where these bands sort of started reemerging in the ‘90s, all but bereft of major label type funding—now it’s THEY who can’t get it quite right, THEY who can’t live up to their own previous pinnacles of punk rock avatarism or whatever. Stop, look, and listen to a recent (like, released within, i dunno, the last ten or fifteen years i guess) (sheesh i’m old) 999 or Buzzcocks or Vibrators record. Now it is the BUZZCOCKS who can’t get the drum parts quite right, not you. It is 999 whose production is off. It is the VIBRATORS whose graphics are amateurish (seriously, the whole cover looks like it was done in some kinda Paint program. That is a graphic no-no of high consequence!). Reduced to moderate punk rock schmuckdom, these guys generally can’t compete with folks like me and you who have known nothing but punk rock schmuckdom all of our lives. Huh. But, of course, that said, they are the Vibrators, and, despite the fact that the guitar is a buried little buzz in the mix, despite the fact that the vocals sound like Knox nodded off in the middle of “Baby Baby” one night and was never able to be roused from his slumber, and despite the fact that a full six songs on this album eclipse the four-minute mark (!), “Politically Correct” is still a great song in a really dumb way, so they win. King Szoot rides again! BEST SONG: “Politically Correct” BEST SONG TITLE: “Lookout Lookout” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Total running time, Pure Mania (fifteen songs): 34:42. Total running time, Buzzin’ (fifteen songs): 55:16. Also, they misspelled “Politically.” Geez.

 –norb (SOS)

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