The Vandals

Fear of a Punk Planet

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Fear of a Punk Planet is possibly the definitive Vandals release. There are the covers of corny pop songs ("Summer Lovin'" from the Grease soundtrack and the Beach Boys' "Kokomo") played at maximum velocity and with sneering, snotty vocals. There are the supremely silly lyrics ("Join Us for Pong," "The Day Farrah Fawcett Died"). There are the amped-up, speedy songs. What puts the Vandals over is, believe it or not, the musicianship. Unlike most other punk outfits, the band, especially ace drummer Josh Freese, is tight and focused. They even attempt Iron Maiden-style metal on "Small Wonder" and pull it off. Even if the constant juvenile humor grates after a while, the Vandals are still more composed and entertaining than most. Fear of a Punk Planet may be just a well-played punk album, but for gloriously un-PC punk fun, it's difficult to do better.

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