Box Office Bomb

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Blessed and cursed with the cult classic "Anything, Anything (I'll Give You)" -- it became the group's calling card, though many music fans never took the time to look beyond that one song -- the band moved to Southern California and created its inspired follow-up to Cinema Verite. Tongue firmly in cheek regarding the title, Box Office Bomb still lived up to its name as it didn't create as much of a buzz as Dramarama's debut, keeping the group's West Coast following more than happy while unfortunately never doing much elsewhere in the world. Regrettably so, for Box Office Bomb is another strong blast of energetic classic rock-via-punk treats that shows the band still in outrageously good form. Lyrically reflecting the group's transplantation to Hollywood's environs in more ways than one, including the album's slamming lead single "It's Still Warm," an unsure, uneasy reflection on their new locale and the cost it incurred, musically Box Office Bomb otherwise stayed true to its roots. Once or twice the band sounded like it wanted to aim for huge venues -- the brilliant opener "Steve and Edie" sounds like what would happen if U2's guitar pyrotechnics were transferred to a less full-of-itself outfit -- and a few songs sound like semi-retreads of Cinema Verite tracks. For the most part, though, this is intelligent but never pretentious red-blooded rock that avoids gravelly rootsiness in favor of flash and style, worth every note. Standouts include the clearly Stooges-inspired "Spare Change" and the smart ghost-of-Blondie rush of "Out in the Rain." Rhino's reissue of the album is the equal to its similar revival of Cinema Verite; besides more entertaining liner notes, six bonus tracks appear, including a great demo take on the later Stuck in Wonderamaland standout "Last Cigarette" and a solid cover of the New York Dolls' "Private World."

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