The Groovie Ghoulies

Appetite for Adrenochrome

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After cranking out three fun and funny punk-pop singles in the late '80s, the Groovie Ghoulies' leader Kepi decided to add new people to the band, taking it out of the bedroom and to the stage. The Ghoulies' first album, Appetite for Adrenochrome, was recorded in 1989 by this new lineup (which featured three guys named John on bass, drums, and guitar), and featured a fuller, louder sound than before, though it was still a rambunctious blast of poppy, punky thrills and chills. Songs about killer computers, monsters, blood, and Armageddon predominate, with Kepi's spunky everyman vocals out front and the three Johns whipping up a live wire energy behind him. The album feels like they basically ran through their live set -- awesome covers of Herman's Hermits' "Don't Go Out" and the Rolling Stones' "2000 Man" included -- barely stopping for breath between songs and playing for the back rows. A few of the tracks are repeated from the early singles, like "Blood Beach" and a couple of the covers, but they benefit from the full band treatment. The amped-up version of the Monkees' "Lookout" sounds especially good with the fuzzy guitars and chain gang backing vocals. The only weird moment is the thudding, heavily metallic "Ghoul Chant," which is overloaded with guitar solos and ends the record on an off note. That song aside, Appetite is an auspicious debut for the band, putting them at the forefront of the pop-punk explosion and giving full voice to Kepi's wonderfully idiosyncratic and witty tunes.

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