Considering that G.B.H. disciple Tim Armstrong of Rancid is the co-founder and primary A&R man for Epitaph imprint Hellcat, the remarkable thing is not that the legendary British street-punk band has recorded an album for the label, but that it took this long for it to happen. G.B.H. have been around since the end of the ‘70s, and have been making records since 1982, never backing down from their in-your-face attack. There aren't many first-generation British punk bands that have stayed the course all the way up through the 2000s, and it's striking how much furious energy still leaps out of the band's guitars, drums, and throats on Perfume and Piss. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that G.B.H. have stayed close to their original aesthetic -- Perfume and Piss isn't watered down by any attempts at "maturity" or "sophistication" -- two words that spell death for street punks. With Rancid's Lars Frederiksen sitting in on the mixes, the sound here is sharp, raw, and raging, as if it were still 1982. The only real stylistic detours on the entire album are "Dead Man Walking," which dips a toe into the speed metal that G.B.H. experimented with for a while some years ago, and "Time Flies," whose straight-up punk attack is introduced by a flamenco-esque 30-second acoustic guitar intro. Beyond those brief diversions, the band gets down to the business of ripping it up throughout Perfume and Piss, spitting out tunes like the deceptively titled "Ballads," which sounds like it could have come off an early Clash album, and "San Jose Wind," which seems to be a celebration of the latter band's late leader, Joe Strummer. Perfume and Piss makes it clear that old punks don't have to burn out or fade away, they can just keep on rocking until they drop.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by James Allen