Parasites

Letdown

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Will Green Day's signing to a major put San Francisco pop-punk on the map? If so, then Parasites should be the next group to get a little fragment of the industry spotlight. Cheerful, caffeine-laced 7" after 7," this quartet, ably led by one Nikki Parasite (sounds like the guy you don't invite to stay over at your house), take the old pogo, throw in dollops of sincerity and the simplest good melody they can fashion, and release a modestly mighty single to stand out from the also-rans. On "Letdown," they even invite Young Fresh Fellows/Fastbacks/Seattle hero and ubiquitous good-guy Kurt Bloch to guest on guitar, and write-in a half-speed, two-minute instrumental bridge to give Bloch a chance to wail punk-style (crazy but not pompous). While it feels like two songs in one, when the chorus returns near the end it becomes that much stronger. The B-side "Reason for Treason" is a cover of a 1980 song by obscure rockers the Law, though when Kevin Army's production hits the opening chord blasts, it's a dead ringer for 1980-1981 "Rat in a Maze"-era Social Unrest or Last Rites for M.I.A. and Genocide. It's where punk hits hardcore while still retaining some measure of genuine style. An excellent single.