Cyanide Pills

Cyanide Pills

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Just life anything else in life, rock & roll runs in cycles -- close to 35 years after the Damned cut "New Rose," British punk bands are still trying to sound young, loud, snotty, and tuneful, and after American punk-pop bands borrowed the melodic style of early U.K. punk bands like the Buzzcocks and the Jam while adding a few dollops of hooky sweetening, the Cyanide Pills have swiped it right back with all the extra hooks intact. The Cyanide Pills' self-titled debut is full of let's-pretend bile and song titles like "Cheap n Nasty," "Suicide Bomber," and "Interrogation Room," but the tunes bubble along with a jumbo portion of energy, enthusiasm, and harmonies, while the guitars sound too playful to be menacing and the rhythm section clatters along with spunk for days. It's hard to imagine anyone being at all threatened by the Cyanide Pills' music, but if it's not confrontational, that's not to say it isn't fun or effective. Alex Arson and Si Pinkeye are a potent guitar team, keeping the songs running in fourth gear at all times, while drummer Chris Wrist and bassist Alarick "The Trick" lay down a tireless, upbeat rhythm and lead singer Phil Privilege can howl and hit the notes at the same time, no small gift. The songs are rough-and-ready little pop constructions that know not to wear out their welcome (none of the 19 songs is over three minutes long, and eight don't even crack the two-minute mark), and they're full of choruses that are suitable for bellowing along while you pogo. And on the few tunes where they ditch their natural sweetness, they can rock pretty hard. The Cyanide Pills don't have an original bone in their collective body, but they've learned very well from their predecessors, and if you can't find your copies of Singles Going Steady or Pure Mania, this album will do just fine in the meantime.

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