U.S. Bombs

Lost in America: Live 2001

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"What the hell happened to punk rock?" scream the liner notes in large type. "Absconded and recast by know-nothing MTV-raised cretins, who think that all they need to be punk is to buy a Clash T-shirt at Hot Topic and have mom spike their hair -- that's what happened. And it sucks." But no, fellas, that's only part of the story. Much of the rawer end of punk rock became so rigidly codified, so predictable, so unimaginative, that it chased away listeners tired of years of the same old clichés. The kind of clichés found, in a sadly cliché-ridden manner, on this release, culled from live U.S. Bombs shows from 2001. The songs are the same old manic-tempoed diatribes against, well, whatever, with Duane Peters' baked-to-a-crisp throaty singing supported by the usual half-chanted half-sung responsive backup vocals. The fidelity is mediocre, and the vocals so blurry as to make the lyrics largely incomprehensible. This is not the complaint of a fuddy-dud hi-fi enthusiast; if you're going to stick to such a formulaic sound, you're going to have to rely on the lyrics to distinguish it from much other music of this type. And if you have no idea what they're going on about (and there are no printed lyrics to lean on), you're not going to be inclined to give them an ear, since it's not even possible to meet the band halfway. Does punk rock's co-opting by the mainstream suck, as the liner notes trumpet? Yes, it does. And though it's far from the mainstream, so does this CD.

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