Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., July 26, 2002
The Punkaroos(Punkaroo Products) Raise the hammer & sickle, comrades, old-school Austin punk lives. Dotty Farrell needs only yawn to voice it, her taunting sneer a touchstone in the continuum of River City DIY queens. One finger wag from Farrell inventories a local Hall of Femme Fatales, from D-Day's De Lewellen to the multiple divas in Robbie Jacks' inspired Boy Problems stagepiece (which begs reissue). Farrell and fellow Punkaroo/guitarist Mark Kenyon were part of Jacks' Problems in 1992, and 10 years later, they're exacerbating it on the Punkaroos' prized full-length debut. Kenyon's opener, "USA," wobbles perceptibly, while second guitarist Todd Kassens' follow-up, "Drunk Punk," slops happily like the dearly departed Hole in the Wall. Farrell's spastic "Road Rage" and Kenyon's "Ebola" are hysterical. It's volley No. 5, however, Dicks veteran and Punkaroos bassist Buxf Parrott's "Hate Filled" on which Punkaroos really clamps down. A screed worthy of Steve Jones' Sex Pistols circa 1977, "Hate Filled" dominoes a run of gleefully buzz-sawing Parrott fodder. His black-hearted children's jig, "Flavor" ("There's a happy fat old clown who's the nicest guy in town. He made the children laugh, then he boiled them in a vat ..."), bursts with dark merriment, its refrain "Woe is Kathie Lee." Parrott's "Head On" collision is primer for back-to-back Dicks covers, the defiantly Teflon crash of "Pigs" ("'cause they can kill us, and we'll be back in a couple of days"), and murderously marauding "Rich Bastards" ("chicken-fried, with gravy on the side"). At 42 minutes, Punkaroos could be leaner by several songs (i.e.,"Bonz"), though not at the expense of righteous anarchy like "Ground Bushit," and the drag race bomb out of the Dicks' "Rich Daddy." Ending on the unforgiving wallop of Parrott's "Atheist Love," Punkaroos is dedicated to the late Dicks guitarist Glen Taylor, and wherever he is, he just raised a fist and cracked a shit-eating grin.