Unit F

Hollow City

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A journalist once asked Public Enemy leader Chuck D why he had someone as goofy as Flavor Flav on board -- why did a group with such serious socio-political messages employ someone who acted like a buffoon? And Chuck replied that Flav's goofy personality was exactly why Public Enemy needed him: he made the controversial rap group more entertaining and thus, helped bring its messages to a larger audience. Unit F isn't a rap group -- Hollow City is alternative rock with strong punk and thrash metal influences -- but like Public Enemy, the Southern California band knows how to effectively combine a socio-political agenda with a healthy sense of humor. While Unit F's lyrics can be quirky and entertaining at times, the rockers have no problem getting serious messages across. On this generally solid CD Unit F rails against everything from corporate America ("Mr. Machine") to the Christian rite ("Snew" and "Jesus in Spaghetti"). The lyrics aren't necessarily anti-religion, but they are definitely anti-conformity and make it clear that Unit F has no love of the far-right Patrick Buchanan/Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell crowd. The disturbing "Daddy Don't" addresses the subject of child abuse, while "My Baby Barfed" warns against the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. You may or may not agree with Unit F's views on U.S. foreign policy ("Salvador BBQ"), but then, one doesn't have to agree with all of the band's politics to realize that Hollow City has a lot going for it musically.

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