Thunderlip

Thunderlip

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Aging '80s punks undoubtedly remember the heyday of Guns N' Roses and the rest of the late-'80s Los Angeles hair metal scene, and it may be with a pang that they realize that this band -- the enemy of purist punks in those black-and-white days, even though former Fastbacks drummer Duff McKagan was a member -- is just another influence to the kidz of today. North Carolina grunge punks Thunderlip are about two parts Guns N' Roses (the good stuff, mind: Appetite for Destruction and Lies, not Use Your Illusion II) to one part Raw Power, with a dash of Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers thrown in for flavor. The resulting brew is pretty bracing, especially on those songs where singer Chuck Krueger shows off a self-aware sense of goofy humor; it's hard not to love a song ("Leather Forever") with the chorus "I'm just a man in leather pants," delivered with a knowing Iggy-style wink. Other songs, like "Fire in the Hole" and "Meet the Snake," have more of the same leering-lunkhead vibe, but when things get a little too self-serious, the fun quotient goes down. A song called "Gonna Die for My Rock and Roll" would work in Mudhoney's sniggering hands, but these guys sound as if they might actually mean it, maaaan, and that never works. Still, Thunderlip is an album with a track called "Viking Love Song," and there just aren't enough of those anymore. Approach this album with the appropriate sense of beery good humor and even a doctrinaire Black Flag fan will have a fun time.

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