The Bags

Sharpen Your Sticks

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After a break of about a dozen years, the Bags -- who, in their original incarnation, lasted from about the mid-'80s to the early '90s -- reunited to begin performing and recording again. The 2005 Sharpen Your Sticks album finds them still toeing the line between hard rock and punk-influenced hard rock. If you liked 'em the first time around, you'll probably still like 'em; the sound and songs are very much consistent with the approach they first established in the prior millennium. As to what the point of these sharpened sticks might be, it's kind of elusive. Much of the lyrics are over the top enough in their reckless gore that it seems as if they might be aiming for satire, but it's not that funny. If they're really just another straight-up lunkheaded hard rock band, there are others who do that much better (or, at least, have managed to make a lot more money at it). It's an ugly, crunching affair, whether deliberately so or not, with lyrics about the likes of cutting tongues out, fast food spiced with zombies, Ivan the Terrible, rallying cavemen to rejoice, and deprecating putdowns of both other losers and themselves. The riffs aren't catchy enough to stick in your head in either a good or bad way. It's an ungainly effort all around.

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