GERBILS, THE: Dead Detroit: LP

One of my prized treasures from 1981 is a (probably non-functional now) cassette on which Barry Henssler of the Necros dubbed me demos of the cool Detroit/Toledo area bands who had yet to appear on vinyl—Negative Approach, the Meatmen, Violent Apathy, Bored Youth. I don’t remember ever hearing about the Gerbils, which is a shame because I probably would have liked them more than Violent Apathy (or Youth Patrol), though less than Negative Approach, the Meatmen, or Bored Youth. Since these recordings (“from the original master tapes!”—still kinda sounds like a cassette Barry would have dubbed me) were from mid-1982, I can only surmise that this Detroit four-piece missed the boat on getting on the Process of Elimination EP, and were lost thru the cracks after that (a review of their GM Working Man cassette in the third MRR notwithstanding). Anyway, this band generally keeps things at the rapid tempo which defined the era (the drummer sounds a bit like the dude from The Freeze), and adds an occasional Screamers-like synth on a few songs, to interesting effect on songs with decidedly un-synthy song titles like “I Don’t Need No Friends” “Kill Everyone,” “Now I Want to Die,” and “What Don’t I Hate?” I also wanna say the singer sounds a bit like Darby Crash, but maybe that’s just because “Gerbils” comes right before “Germs” in the dictionary. In any event, if you put this collection up against all the other punk records released in calendar year 1982, you could conceivably wrangle a B-minus out of it, which ain’t bad, all things considered. BEST SONG: “I Hate the Law.” BEST SONG TITLE: “What Don’t I Hate?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Design by Jason Willis! ­–Rev. Nørb (Lysergic Sound Distributors, lsdsounds.com)