Record review

Texas Platters


Mars Needs Women and Other Big Hits (Family Fun)

Shelf space devoted to Austin's first-wave punk bands features more vinyl than digital, but Sharon Tate's Baby/Jerryskids eases the loneliness with 14 tracks recorded live in the studio way back when. The appeal of old-school punk was its immediacy and its unwillingness to change, and more than 25 years later, it bears the same trappings, sentiments, and beat. That's why Mars Needs Women and Other Big Hits sounds so then as well as so now. "Block People" opens, the songs ringing with garage-rock sensibility and a simplicity that prompts the question of why punk was so marginalized by the industry. "Why We Bitch," "Dead Babies," and "Human Trash" remain as catchy and danceable as they were a quarter of a century ago, while "Drugs Will Kill Me" throbs with a tender anguish. With Rey Washam (ex-Big Boys) on drums, Brett Bradford and Steve Sonleitner on guitars, and Brian Finger on bass on most cuts, lead singer Chris Wing, who wrote or co-wrote all but "Peggy Sue," makes the CD levitate with the punchy fury that drove the genre the first time round. File between the Dicks and the Offenders when you add Mars Needs Women to your collection, and note the cover art by the late, great Biscuit!


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