Released in 1995, Parade of Losers is a solid if unspectacular collection of post-punk mook rock from L.A. unknowns P.O.L. The group was picked up by Giant Records during the frenzy of signings that followed the monster success of bands like Green Day and Offspring -- punk outfits that (like P.O.L.) championed a smart-mouthed id-pop that served as post-grunge catharsis. While P.O.L. shared certain aesthetic qualities with their more successful contemporaries, a hard rock essence seems to boil just beneath their surface of goofy lyrics and pop-punk song structures. Singer/songwriter Da Skunk leads the group through various hackneyed political missives and adolescent one-liners with a New Yorker's confidence and healthy compositional chops. Along with Da Skunk on bass, the rest of P.O.L. (guitarists Loopiss and A-Man, drummer Tiny Jesus) performs as a tight unit, executing their riffs with a focused abandon. On their minor radio hit, "Stupid," the considerable talents and limitations of the group are both present: succinct songwriting and musical skills along with ill-conceived comic lyrics. Standout tracks include "Sick" and "In Me I Trust," two heavy numbers that lack the goofiness exuded on the rest of the disc and benefit from it. There are many fine musical moments on Parade of Losers, but it's a tough recommendation. Fans of aggro-pop who are unafraid of inane lyrics might want to rescue a copy from the local record store's used bin.
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