The first and best wave of L.A. punk bands from 1977-1979 all broke up under-documented and unsigned, with the exception of X, the Germs, and, to a lesser extent, the Plugz. But the legacy of incredible pioneers such as the Weirdos, Dils, Controllers, and Screamers was the wide success of the harder, faster, younger bands that followed. The interest the 1977 bands awakened not only inspired the formation of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, T.S.O.L., Social Distortion, Agent Orange, Fear, the Adolescents, and others, but helped create a national market, enabling the newer bands to find labels, put out albums, and tour regularly. The Adolescents were perhaps the first of this second wave to put out an LP widely distributed throughout the U.S., selling well over five digits in 1981 (following on the heels of San Francisco's Dead Kennedys, who broke the doors open with their immortal Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables the previous year). Produced by Middle Class' Mike Patton, the debut from these five Orange County kids established the mid-tempo, punk-pop "Southern Cal sound," led by the long, great, pummeling, Johnny Thunders-derived solos of the two Agnew brothers, Rikk and Frank. These soaring, ripping parts still sound great today. As important, songs such as the anthemic "No Way," the classic "Amoeba," the schizophrenic "Kids of the Black Hole," and the glorious "Creatures" endure precisely because they're not just aggressive and speedy: they're super-catchy, heavy-riffing rock & roll, proving again that punk was the true heir to the likes of Chuck Berry, Larry Williams, Bo Diddley, and Eddie Cochran. For the longest while, L.A. teenagers had the spirit, verve, moxie, and zeal to play charged, zippy punk. Hundreds of other bands formed right as the Adolescents recorded, such as Bad Religion, Shattered Faith, Youth Brigade, Aggression, M.I.A., and Channel 3! In so doing, L.A. helped resist the diluted explosion of thrash hardcore that swept the rest of the U.S., particularly on the East Coast.
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AllMusic Review by Jack Rabid