Mainliner: Wreckage From the Past is a collection of early singles and rare B-sides from Orange County punk legends Social Distortion. Recorded while they were still in their teens, this early material shows no signs of the country-influenced sound that would appear later in the band's career. The main style displayed here is pure punk fury with short, fast songs, lyrics about teen rebellion, and plenty of attitude to go around. "Playpen," "Moral Threat," and "All the Answers" speak of the plight of the early punk rockers who took major abuse from all forms of authority back in a period where the musical style was still considered dangerous. "Mainliner" is a not-at-all subtle tale of heroin abuse. A cover of "Under My Thumb" shows early on that the Rolling Stones were just as much an influence on Social Distortion as the Sex Pistols and the Clash. This collection is definitely intended for dedicated fans and is more of a history lesson than a proper album. Although extremely raw and a bit naïve, becoming familiar with this material will help fans understand where the band came from and appreciate their point of view on stronger, later material.
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AllMusic Review by Paul Tinelli