Sloppy Seconds

Knock Yer Block Off

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With a name like Sloppy Seconds, you get an idea of what the band is all about from the get go: irreverence, immaturity, and disregard for good taste. Sounds like a recipe for punk rock, and these were the ingredients for raw growlers on The First Seven Inches...And Then Some!, a 1987 reissue of the band's debut EP. Fueled with venom and cheap beer, this classic of failed anger management spewed clever lyrics skewering relationships, suicide, and even partying. An album, an EP, and six years later, Sloppy Seconds gave listeners Knock Yer Block Off, which has moments of the band's old gristle and spleen, but never quite delivers the goods. Like their earlier masterpiece, the songs here employ catchy up-tempo melodies in the tradition of the Ramones, but with more of a rock accent from gamboling guitars offering tensely wound solos and quick, neat accents between verses. The band is tight, and guitars, bass, and drum interact with the quick playfulness of a game of tag. But while they still reach the intensity of a cross-country crime spree on the album's opener, "The Mighty Heroes," and "The Kids Are All Drunk," which revs and teases, the album's energy is uneven and drags in places. Songs like "Radio On" and even the likeable "Hiptune" lose momentum. Hearing B.A. apply his bratty wit to lyrics that have a wickedly funny way with rhymes -- like "Patience is a virtue that only seems to hurt you" on "Hiptune" -- is an undiminished pleasure. He sings with his old snotty bravado, but his nasal delivery is now more likely to give way to a sort of good old-fashioned crooning. The songs' subject matter still lurks in the land of teenage hormone overload, with titles like "Ejaculation" and "Den Mother" and fantasies about Russ Meyer girls and his friend's sister. For those unfamiliar with Sloppy Seconds, this album should not serve as your introduction. But if you're already a fan, you'll find some more good moments with the band you love and some reasons to go back and listen to the first full-length again.

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