MUTANTS, THE: Curse of the Easily Amused: CD

Sep 22, 2022

It’s sometimes hard to imagine—after decades of compartmentalizing, pigeonholing, slicing, dicing, and defining—a time when “punk” was more about attitude than a specific style or template. Even now, modern wonks require that bands be retrofitted into genres that didn’t yet exist because it seems impossible to them to fathom a time when, say, Blondie, Bad Brains, Black Randy, and Talking Heads all fit nicely under the “punk” umbrella. Such is the case of the band in question here. The Mutants were a popular first-wave punk band out of the San Francisco region that managed a full-length, a split flexi, some comp tracks, and an EP before they initially broke up in the early/mid-’80s. Collected here are alternate takes, demos, and live tracks covering that time period—a huge chunk of which have never been released—and all sounding crisp. Taken as a full-length, this is more insistent and cohesive than their LP Fun Terminal, with shades of Voidoids, Pere Ubu, and others on the artsy fringe of punk popping up in the edgy shards they deliver. As it plays through, I can almost hear the, “Well, they weren’t really punk” conversations kicking up, followed by heated discussions over some sub-sub-subgenre newly minted for them to inhabit because they don’t easily fit what’s now become thee “punk sound.” Fuck that. This is as “punk” as it gets, and sonic ambiguity, not blind adherence to what’s expected, is what more should be striving for. –Jimmy Alvarado (Liberation Hall)

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