Wipers

Youth of America

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    9
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A grizzly, furious beast of a 30-minute record, Youth of America saw Greg Sage and his Wipers lengthening some of their material to very unfashionable lengths; many a hardcore punk band of the time could tuck a dozen songs about Reagan and fisticuffs inside the title track alone. Opposed to the compromised Is This Real?, Youth of America was engineered and recorded in-house; Sage's time spent in a professional setup for the debut LP frustrated him, and the fact that he's gained complete control here makes it seem as if a cork has been pulled from a bottle. The shackles are off and the group's own personality hits full bloom. Vocally, Sage sounds like a sleepless outcast loaded on an unhealthy amount of caffeine, fraught with a magnified level of paranoia and angst that needs immediate purging -- often, his life seems to be depending on it. "Youth of America" itself is a nightmare locomotive, a ten-minute chug through a persistent rhythm, screeching/careening/wailing guitars, and jarring psychedelic effects. The remaining five songs, which don't lessen the intensity very much, are solid in their own right and are generally more tuneful than the title track. The version of Youth of America to own is actually located on disc two of the three-disc Wipers Box Set, released in 2001 by Sage on his own label, Zeno. Since it runs at the cost of a single CD, there's no financial risk whatsoever. It's also remastered and corrects the completely bungled track order listed on the Restless edition.

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