Guitar Wolf

Kung Fu Ramone

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Released through the punk-minded Bag of Hammers label, Guitar Wolf's Kung Fu Ramone is at least as raucous and loud as anything else that sports the label's imprint. Even those having only a passing acquaintance with the music of Guitar Wolf know that it is loud, fast, dirty, and out of control (and the guys wear leather jackets and sport vintage pompadours). So, while many have argued either that punk rock is long dead and buried, or that Blink 182 is the new face of punk, the truth is that it is alive and kicking, in Japan at least. Through Kung Fu Ramone's 13 tracks, Guitar Wolf stays true to form, offering up manic, blitzkreig barre chords and lyrics that may or may not be performed in Japanese (Seiji's ultra-manic, amped-up delivery style makes it nearly impossible to tell at times). To address the songs individually is unnecessary, as the record itself seems to declare no divisions as it blends into one huge mass of garage, rockabilly, and B-movie insanity. And it is < l > so loud. Driven by dirty guitars peppered with bits of reverb, Guitar Wolf proudly displays the influence of acts like the Mummies and the Ventures, as well as the Stooges and many bands of the Nuggets school of punk. As always, Guitar Wolf is more about spectacle than substance, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, the poor production of this particular spectacle should relegate it to collector status, leaving the rest of us to enjoy more coherent efforts, like the Matador-released Jet Generation.

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