Along with the Avengers, Nuns, Crime, UXA, Sleepers, Mutants, and others, Negative Trend founded the San Francisco punk movement in 1977, a scene so unhealthily fresh that it still sounds manic, committed, and sopping with excitement after 9,000 lesser punk records. All these bands initially only released scant singles and EPs; Negative Trend had to make do with one four-song EP and tracks on the excellent Tooth & Nail compilation.
Until now: The Pop Sessions instantly becomes the third-best LP document of this incredible scene (behind the two hot Avengers ones). Who knew such torrid studio recordings of their first lineup existed? Imagine if the Avengers had more than three 1977 recordings, and that's the difference between the much later, more Pistolian Negative Trend releases (great as they are) with later singers like Rik L. Rik, and this ripping, vicious, wild attack with original, psychotic-sounding singer Rozz Rezabek-Wright. With nine songs in 19 minutes, nothing is wasted. The second the laser drops on "M-16," right through "I Don't Wanna Be a Machine (Karen Anne Quinlan)," this rips, slams, creams, and smacks with the sort of anarchic abandon rarely beheld since. If the rest of the world and the established rock scene was slipping into moribund inertia and flatulence, these guys came off as ten hits of speed and adrenaline, like uncatchable youth beyond its years, and most of all, they generated the kind of chaotic freedom mixed with intensity the Stooges had four years before on Raw Power and live, at faster speeds. The Pop Sessions, even more than their later, already extent recordings, proves Negative Trend were once a streaking, crazy comet, caught perfectly by this frenzied, feral snapshot -- on the return of one of the scene's original, tiny labels, too. (www.localsonline.com)