Party Animals

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Party Animals is definitely great for a few laughs and devil-horn taunts. At one point Turbonegro rhymes "Jesus" with "feces," and most of the album's song titles sound like the handles of forgotten '80s metal bands. "Final Warning," "Babylon Forever," "Stay Free," -- you get the idea. Of course, prurience and the skewering of cliché have always been band specialties. But on Party Animals, the sleaze seems posed, and spread over the well-used hard rock riffs and stomping proto-metal. Like, if Hank Von Helvete says something about erections or getting wasted, we won't notice that "High on the Crime" and "Blow Me [Like the Wind]" sound like the Soundtrack of Our Lives with a Judas Priest fetish. Given the artful absurdity of its accompanying photography -- like a subverted ad campaign for Diesel or Capitol One -- Turbonegro dudes dressed as Norse warriors, dandies, and sailors appear in the unlikeliest of places -- the album's toilet-scum rock-god obviousness might be the point, a pomo version of the longstanding Turbo joke. But that doesn't make the songs any more memorable. "All My Friends Are Dead" and "Final Warning" are successfully dark and audacious; the latter pits a string section against the trashy punk of Turbonegro albums past. But it's not enough to make Party Animals comparable to those older records. It's stuck between a charmingly bad attitude and the need to succeed.

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