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
Finally the turntable gets another spin. And this album has definitely given the machine a workout.
The Cosmic Psychos are icons of a peculiar part of the Aussie music scene. A trio of roughnut blokes playing straight ahead, Stooges-style garage punk, these guys were reknown for drinking VB in copious amounts, swearing up a storm, roo-shooting and agricultural imagery.
There’s nothing pretty or arty about this men. They compose incredibly direct tunes (with such couplets as “I wanna be like David Lee Roth and have girls suck me off”), with pounding beats and wah-wah laiden riffs.
It all works well and captures the spirit of the late-80s, early-90s garage punk bands that for better or worse would inspire the grunge movement.
I’m feeling guilty listening to this without a beer in my hand (a can of course), that I’m not wearing a wife-beater singlet and am unadorned with prison-style tats. But these blokes would forgive all (well, maybe not the beer bit), as it was never about how you looked and all about how much you liked the unbridled rock experience. And I do…
The stand out tunes: the aforementioned David Lee Roth, the riff-heavy Rain on You and Going Down.
File under: The Oz-Rock that should be played once an hour on “classic hits” stations
Posted in C, On Vinyl, Oz Artists
Tagged album, album review, CD review, Cosmic Psychos, David Lee Roth, music, music review, Stooges, Subpop, VB