Moral Crux

I Was a Teenage Teenager

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Released in 1994, the excellently titled I Was a Teenage Teenager continues and heightens Moral Crux's uniformly strong string of political punk-pop albums by toughening up the sound a bit -- instead of the Queers-like bubble-punk of the previous ...And Nothing But the Truth, the noisier songs here are closer to the garagey sound of the Fastbacks. (The Undertones, who the Oregon boys salute with a faithfully reverent cover of the immortal "Teenage Kicks," are another touchstone.) That extra bit of attitude, which is also evident in James T. Farris' slightly more rough-edged vocals, is just enough to put this collection over the edge from "promising" to essential, making this the first truly great Moral Crux album. The 2001 reissue on Coldfront Records adds a handful of contemporaneous B-sides and the like, including perhaps the quintessential Moral Crux track, "1977-1997." It takes the Clash song as its starting point and then tears into bands that insist on simply rehashing two decades' worth of sounds and poses without adding anything new or thoughtful to the process, something that the historically aware but never slavishly retro Moral Crux could never be accused of.

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