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
(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.