I have a love-hate relationship with punk.
Intellectually I get the whole kicking-against-the-establishment thing and the DIY ethic. I recognise that in the late 70s these bands were a shock to the ears of a public accustomed to disco and prog-rock. I even get the primal desire to jump around and bash into each other.
But, I typically struggle with the reality of the recordings. The sloppy vocal stylings, trashy guitar and haphazard rhythms just ain’t that shocking through a 21st century lens. What I mean is that it just doesn’t seem that dangerous or rebellious, and instead can be a bit of a chore.
This album is a case in point. The DKs were at the forefront of shocking the conservative US, what with their name, their expletives and (elsewhere) supposedly perverse album covers. They dished up an angry, sarcastic critique of early 80s Californian and American mundanity and tyranny.
That’s all and good, but much of this compilation just sounds just sound like poorly constructed Cramps ‘tunes’ and Stooges outtakes.
When the band do get it right, they get it very right, however. Their most famous tracks (i.e. the first three plus Holiday in Cambodia) are justifiably subcultural icons.
File under: Give me competence