Neurotic Outsiders

Neurotic Outsiders

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An odd 90s supergroup started as a lark playing gigs at the Viper Room in Hollywood, Neurotic Outsiders found surprising enthusiasm for their punk-edged paeans to sex and the dark side of rock, resulting in a tour, extended stints at the Viper Room, and this album. Made up of the unsung members of some of the best bands of the last three decades, the band boasts Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, John Taylor of Duran Duran, Duff McKagan of Guns 'N Roses, and Matt Sorum of G'nR and The Cult. Steve Jones and John Taylor, responsible for nearly all the writing, make no mistake about where they are coming from. As grunge and its vague angst and politics fizzled out in the mid-90s, Neurotic Outsiders in spirit are a lot closer to poseurs and playas of the decade's rap scene. However, their odes to nasty sex and bad women are tinged with tongue-in-cheek campiness. As expected, this band has a fabulous rhythm section. John Taylor's hyperkenetic basslines paired with Sorum's machine-gun drums are a treat. McKagan and Jones turn in surprising guitar work, and all members do a respectable job sharing vocal duties. Of course, a punk album born in the Viper Room sports some in-your-face lyrics about sex in all its rock and roll forms. "Jerk" is so obnoxious it's impossible to dislike it. "Angelina" is a slightly campy "stripper wants to escape" romp with big-80s guitar and a disarmingly catchy chorus about "Angelina," the queen of misdemeanors." Whether it's sex, drugs, or music, every track has a dark undercurrent, giving a surprising bit of depth to the record. "Revolution," "Good News" (the bad news is your dying/the good news is I'm alive), and "Six Feet Under" are frenetic, anthemic, mixes of punk and GnR style hard rock. Jones' song writing talents are intriguing. "Better Way," a rolling power ballad, is an astute meditation on going and staying straight, and finding fulfillment. "Union" recounts the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols. Fittingly, the band nods to their collective musical past with a superb, fiery cover of the Clash's "Janie Jones." Fans missing punk, pre-grunge hard rock, or the musicianship of any of the bands that fed into Neurotic Outsiders, will appreciate this record.

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