LOVE CANAL: If It Ain’t Broke, Break It: LP

I’ve long had a soft spot for Love Canal. It began when they closed out an ‘80s Olympic Auditorium show by giving out their share of the complimentary canned beer to the audience. A mad beer fight ensued and the band played until the house lights were turned up and the back doors were opened in a not-so-subtle “get the fuck out already” move. Cool as fuck, yes. What hooked me, though, were their tunes: zippy melodic thrash with all the O.C./South Bay trappings of the time married to Kerry’s distinctive voice and infused with a lot of humor. Their long out-of-print It’s a Dog’s Life So Blow It Out Yer Ass LP was a hoot as well, where the intricacies of their sound, especially Arab’s guitar runs, were in full evidence. This, their second album, comes some thirty-two years after their first, with some inevitable changes in tow. Firstly, Kerry’s replaced here by D.I.’s Bosco on vocals, which makes a significant change to the proceedings, though one not necessarily bad—he’s a great singer with a strong voice. The tempos of the originals, re-recordings, and covers showcased here are much less frantic than they were back in their initial run—again not necessarily a bad thing—and Arab’s distinctive noodling remains intact. A rhythm section comprised of former members of Plain Wrap, The Vandals, and Leatherwolf (!?) rounds things out nicely. They’ve also updated to a distinctly modern O.C./South Bay sound, which, unfortunately, includes a right-wing bent to some of the lyrics. A solid release overall, true to their roots, their sound, and oeuvre. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hostage)