The GC5

Kisses From Hanoi/Horseshoes & Handgrenades

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This CD combines both the GC5's first full-length album, 2000's Kisses From Hanoi, and the 2001 EP Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, previously available only from a tiny Irish indie label. Good old-fashioned lefty street punk in the manner of Alternative TV, Stiff Little Fingers, and the early Clash (even though the quartet is actually from turn-of-the-millennium Columbus, OH, not mid-'70s England), these records are brashly enjoyable, even though neither Pete Kyrou's voice (shades of Social Distortion's Mike Ness) nor the band's wall-of-thrash sound are particularly distinctive. What puts them over are the lyrics, which are intelligent, slyly funny, and thoughtfully rabble-rousing. "One for Eugene," a free-speech screed that recognizes that Eugene V. Debs is a more valid figurehead than Howard Stern, makes some cogent points, as does the pummeling "Culture Wars." The whole thing is topped off by a gleeful deconstruction of the Replacements' "Bastards of Young" that recasts the song as a rallying cry along the lines of Black Flag's "Rise Above."

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