SO WHAT: Hard Gum: LP

May 23, 2017

By any reasonable calculation, there are probably three or four A sides lurking in this post-junkshop thicket; that puts it even with Slayed?, ahead of Slade in Flame, and just behind the first U.S. Sweet album—not bad work, all things considered. Among the notables, “What You Do to Me” is a fine album-launching stomper—no doubt Jason Duncan’s most successful attempt to channel the tribal mojo of his long-standing aesthetic wet dreams, the Equals. “What You Said” is kinda “What You Do to Me” junior, the brilliant cover of Chris Andrews’ “Yo Yo” (hey, it was #7 in South Africa in 1970! What, you haven’t been paying attention?) is the album’s acme, and “Don’t Come Back” must have been written about a different girl than “What You Do to Me.” The lesser lights are generally awright but rather charmless—the lyrics in stuff like “Don’t Wanna Come Back to You” (which is, to be clear, a different song than “Don’t Come Back”) comes across more like an almost Trumpian paucity of ideas and vocabulary than it does a bare bones Gary Glitteresque itch-scratch, not that that was necessarily the intended target to begin with. That said, the punk rock aspect of things tends to sand down the gaps between the haves and have-nots; if I still had parties at my house I assure you I’d at least play the first side. BEST SONG THAT WASN’T A #7 HIT IN SOUTH AFRICA IN 1970: “What You Do to Me.” BEST SONG TITLE: “My Life Is Tight.” Psych! FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The “Just Add Water” wordmark is typeset in the font called “fanzine.” I know this because I typeset it like twenty years ago! ­–Rev. Nørb (Just Add Water / Surfin’ Ki)