7 & 7 Is

Critic Richard Meltzer made an entire career out of reviewing record covers, which can often tell you more about the records at hand than the music! For instance, if you were to look at the safety-pinned, bullet-split Iron Cross on the front of The Chumps' Russian Roulette EP (No Lie Records), or even the photo of Darby Crash curiously credited as being Chumps bassist Frankie Nowhere, you might surmise they were a punk band. And you'd be correct. What you wouldn't be able to detect is how drop-dead hilarious they are, whether screamer/songwriter Papa Sean's hissing over hair loss ("Goin' Bald"), shitty roommates ("Finally I Can Sleep"), or repeatedly bellowing the title phrase and the words "Pow! Pow! Pow!" on "Russian Roulette." You also get no idea of their minimalistic fury, nor how well they can hold the waning attention of a long-term punk aficionado like myself. Meantime, the screaming yellow hues of the Lord High Fixers' "Take Me Home" b/w "Things She Says" (Estrus) looks a lot like how their screaming yellow guitar feedback sounds. The motorscooter blueprints, photos of well-dressed Sixties teens, and calls-to-arms say a lot about their mod and Huey Newton fetishes. What the graphics don't explain is that they whip up a holocaust that resembles The Fall had Pussy Galore predated `em. Don't bother trying to figure out The Paranoids from the ugly, distorted cover they attached to their EP, as it doesn't say a goddamned thing about `em. But their sound's an imaginative, thrilling synthesis of "My Generation" and Billy Childish, and their cranking version of Ric Von Schmidt's "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" should indicate this band's level of wit. Dead End Cruisers' "The Suave, The Scummy, The Distant, The Gay" (Up Yours Records) also features murky, horrid graphics which impart not a bit of info about `em. Suffice to say chief Cruisers Neil Curran and Seth Rogers did take their Clash obsession with them from their old outfit, Bury Jenny, and little else. The Cruisers are far speedier, more skilled, and more aggressive than Bury Jenny ever were, and are also far more complementary to Curran's songwriting talents. A good first step from an ever-improving band.

-- Tim Stegall "7 and 7 is" reviews local and national 7" singles. Send to: "7 and 7 is," The Austin Chronicle, PO Box 49066, Austin, TX 78765.

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