The Vandals

The Quickening

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The Quickening is as definitive as the Vandals get. Amidst the scabrous lyrics (such as the mock-cannibalistic "Hungry for You," which parodies the starving musician anthem in a rather unusual way) and the loud and fast punk attitude, there are actually some intriguing ideas and clever melodies. Part of that is due to the musicianship; drummer Josh Freese and bassist Joe Escalante are an especially astute rhythm section. Mostly, though, the band simply constructs some ingenious music melodies ("Hungry for You" is an homage to '60s garage rock) and overlays lyrics that tone down the gross out humor and silly goofiness of previous albums. The hilarious "Choose Your Masters" argues that, contrary to what Choose or Lose claims, fans who watch MTV should not be allowed to vote, while "Canine Euthanasia" is a surprisingly touching ode to a beloved pet that had to be put down. The Quickening contains no shortage of silly humor, but tempers it with just the right amount of reflection, which guarantees that this will be considered one of the best Vandals albums.

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