Les Thugs

I.A.B.F.

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Les Thugs' last record before their short-lived sojourn to the higher-profile Sub Pop label, 1991's I.A.B.F. (the titular similarity to the Heartbreakers' L.A.M.F. is no doubt intentional, but the similarly titled song explains that the initials stand for "International Anti-Boredom Front") sounds about the same as the records that came before and after. Hardcore intensity mixes with a Replacements/Saints-style sense of pop songcraft; although loud and fast are the rules, songs like "I Love You So" and "Good Friends" are as sweet as their titles, and even darker-hued songs like "Stop the War" and "Paranoia" don't stint on the melody. The Buzzcocks-like instrumental "N.6" that opens the album is a particular highlight, but all ten songs have an impressive hummability level. The one problem is that a few of these songs overstay their welcome by a minute or two. "And He Kept on Whistling" combines a haunting chorus with some of the album's most intriguing lyrics, but it could easily be cut in half from its nearly six-minute length. Overall, however, I.A.B.F. is as anti-boring as its title.

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