Fine...Forget It

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"Smokin' dope out back of a barbecue shack/The whole scene was pretty trippy." It's just possible that some pre-Allman Brothers proto-Southern rockers like Houston's Bubble Puppy or Christopher might have gotten away with a couplet like that -- in 1969, or perhaps the first half of 1970. In 2005, anyone who comes up with lyrics on that level is either a kitsch ironist or is simply trying way too hard. On what's claimed to be their final album, Georgia-born scuzz-rockers Hellstomper tend toward the latter, because there's little humor (intentional or otherwise) in these dozen odes to drinkin', fightin', that other popular gerund that starts with an F, and the general badassedness of lead singer Alan "The Goddamn" King. By the end of the album, the cornball lyrics have effectively drained much of the life from the otherwise pretty cool blues-raunch punk tunes. Musically, Hellstomper show up the hapless Jon Spencer Blues Explosion as the lame poseurs they are, integrating good old-fashioned Southern-fried boogie and too-cool-for-school garage rock like they were always meant to be together. Ignore the words and Fine...Forget It is a storming end to an overlooked band.

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