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Friday, September 3, 2010

Angry Samoans: The 90's Suck And So Do You


1) I'd Rather Do The Dog; 2) Letter From Uncle Sam; 3) Suzy's A Loser; 4) In And Out Of Luv; 5) Mister M. D.; 6) My Baby's Gone Gone Gone; 7) Beat Your Heart Out; 8) Don't Change My Head.

By the mid-Nineties, little was left of the Angry Samoans but Metal Mike who, for some reason, was still in love with the name, mildly justifying it, perhaps, by the continuing presence of ori­ginal drum­mer Bill Vockeroth. The only studio memento of that incarnation was this predictably laconic, unpredictably boring eight-song disc, the best thing about which might have been its title — ringing truer than any given piece of its content, even though one can just as easily replace «The 90's» with any other decade.

The album is, overall, heavier than STP, but even less deserving of getting aligned with the rest of the Samoans' legacy. Basically, it's just minimalistic, heavily distorted power pop, reading like a sincere, but uninspired tribute to the Ramones — which means that we would all be much better off simply listening to the Ramones instead, since even their worst, most heavily derivative al­bums contain more excitement than this leaden platter.

There is absolutely no «band presence» here; the credits do list two extra bass players and one ad­ditional guitarist (Alison Victor), but ninety percent of the mix are occupied by Saunders' fuzzy, always same-sounding riffs and blubbery nasal vocals. This is bad: punky-pop needs band pre­sence to convince and satisfy. The riffs are technically well played, but most have been regurgi­tated so many times already over the past twenty years that they can only generate emotion in a newborn baby. The vocals totally suck — Saunders sings everything in a daze, as if they'd thrust that microphone under his nose just as he was slipping out of some narcosis. Maybe that was his idea of imitating the rough tenderness of Joey Ramone's love ballads, but it's a total failure: Joey could generate innocent sentimentalism in a jiffy, whereas when Metal Mike sings that "all the girls are after me", the effect is not even funny, it's that of a big question mark.

The bottomline is that it is really unnecessary to pursue the band's career after Back From Sa­moa; in fact, it would make much better sense to pretend that the band never really existed after 1982, an assumption that would make them the perfect hardcore band — one that said everything it had to say in the appropriate 20 minutes it took to say it, and then was no more, which might be an even greater artistic achievement. The idea that even now, in the XXIst century, there is still a band called the Angry Samoans, playing assorted West Coast pubs to whatever unlucky souls they might find there, is, in fact, so absurdly preposterous, that I simply refuse to believe it. As for the album, I'd theoretically like to give it a thumbs down, but the right side of my mind tells me that it is just a phantom — like the Amityville Horror or something, so why bother?

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