Slickee Boys

Live at Last

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The last album by the Slickee Boys was an excellent showcase of the band's live prowess, justifying their reputation as an exhilarating and offbeat concert draw. Despite being recorded in a French nightclub, the sound is crystal clear and the vocals are perfectly comprehensible. The band's mix of new wave hooks with garage pop is catchy, but either the tracks were deliberately grouped to put all the straightforward material on one side and the weird stuff on the other, or the band had a very divided set on the night this was recorded. That first side is good noisy fun, with plenty of guitar hooks and singalong choruses, but without a whole lot of inventiveness. This changes as soon as the second half starts, and the band crashes into the Cramps-like "The Brain That Refused to Die"." From there on, the Slickee Boys shift styles like a musical chameleon, dashing through '60s rock (their cover of "Pictures of Matchstick Men"), '50s rock (the salacious "Jailbait Janet"), surf music (their near-hit "When I Go to the Beach"), and punk-pop (the delirious anthem "This Party Sucks"). The whole is one of the finest extended rock parodies ever made, delivered with ample instrumental chops and wicked intelligence. Alas, this was the last release from the band -- founding member Kim Kane left after this album was recorded, and though the band toured briefly without him they were defunct by 1990.

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