Supersuckers/ Electric Frankenstein 

Splitsville Volume 1

Punk would never have survived its mid-'90s Top 40 emasculation without bands like New Jersey's Electric Frankenstein and Seattle's Supersuckers. Alternatives to the Offspring, these bands carved a slot in the ever-contrary coolness cycle with basic, even rootsy, rock 'n' roll. But unlike the monkey-suited underground hipsters that currently own the moment, there's much more to these bands than mere aesthetics. This split disc is proof.

Supersuckers singer Eddie Spaghetti has a gimmickless way with words to match the band's meaty CBGB classicism, all lightly chicken-fried with twang. The opening cut, "Then I'm Gone," has more than a few of these lyrical nuggets ("Yeah, I still smoke and I drink too much/Yeah, I'm still broke, baby, let's go dutch"), and "Shitfire" is a tight, riffy rave-up which stands among the best of the band's decade-long run. But it's the Supersuckers' reading of Electric Frankenstein's "Teenage Shutdown" that's the album's brightest spark. Liberated from EF's impervious bombast by acoustic country-blues , the song is the most astute music-industry anthem since the Replacements' "IOU," with cranky, fatalistic lines like, "Everybody gives it up, you don't know how to stop/You never get another shot, and I don't wanna talk." "Teenage Shutdown" aside, however, EF singer Steve Miller is prone to right-wing-flavored rants against losers and lollygaggers -- illustrated in "Rip It Apart," which berates an addict, and "Not This Time," a complaint about "social prostitution." It's enough to make you wonder what gives underground cock-rockers like EF the right to such Nietzschean superiority. But if you'd invented their formula-- grand Pete Townshend/Angus Young riffism with an airtight East Coast hardcore punch -- you might be pretty arrogant yourself. Holding back nothing in this minor release, EF deliver some of their hottest tunes yet, adding some ominous harmonies à la Damned for good measure, along with a grimy Stooges-like rendition of the Supersuckers' "She's My Bitch." EF's metallic oomph, like the Supersuckers' frayed saloon punk, has a quality you won't find often enough in punk, either on MTV or college radio. It's trend-proof.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in CD Reviews

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

The Beer Issue 2020

The Decade in Review

The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

Best of the East Bay

2020

© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation