Unnatural Helpers

Cracked Love & Other Drugs

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By the time the Unnatural Helpers released their sock-shredding debut on Hardly Art (a subsidiary of Sub Pop), the Seattle garage rockers had gone through enough lineup changes that founding member Dean Whitmore was the only constant in the group. Despite having little history together, the band quickly came together as a tight-knit unit for Cracked Love & Other Drugs. Joined by former Catheters and Idle Hands bandmates Brian Standeford and Charles Leo Gebhardt on guitars and the Dutchess & the Duke’s Kimberly Morrison on bass, the drummer/singer whips through 15 songs that hardly break the two-minute mark. It’s a quick-and-dirty romp of grungy punk, full of power chords and barking vocals. If Pissed Jeans eased up and tried some Ramones melodies, the result might be something like “Sunshine/Pretty Girls”; meanwhile, the ultra-concise “Our Most Entitled” and “Claim It Mine” crunch heartily with feverish tongue-in-cheek choruses. Kurt Bloch (of Fastbacks and the Young Fresh Fellows) recorded the entire album in under a week, making for a raw, compact sound, an appropriately simple setting for the fun-loving neanderthal ‘tude that spans the 25-minute running time.

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