Anthology 1981-1985 (Just 4 Fun)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., July 23, 2010
The OffendersAnthology 1981-1985 (Just 4 Fun)
In the era of Austin's Woodshock and Raul's, the Offenders dominated the local hardcore scene. Picking up with the arrival of second vocalist J.J. Jacobson, this anthology from Sweden's Just 4 Fun details who, what, where, when, and why atop teenage riots like 1981 blitzkrieg tantrum "I Hate Myself" and "Fight Back," an 83-second call to arms originally pressed for the 1983 regional compilation Cottage Cheese From the Lips of Death. Like Black Flag, the Offenders quickly evolved out of standard three-chord punk, with bloody Sabbath undertones, a relentless low-end rumble from late bassist Mikey Donaldson, and an uncanny technical sophistication that allowed the quartet to turn on a dime in standouts "When Push Comes to Shove" and "Bad Times." The band's Spot-produced second LP, 1985's Endless Struggle, still holds its own against the SST Records canon, but its staggering here makes for an off-balanced listen. "You Keep Me Hangin' On" serves as the swan song, bruising the Supremes by way of Vanilla Fudge and foreshadowing Donaldson's departure for Gary Floyd's Sister Double Happiness.