Pin-ups [Triple X]

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Four-fifths of the Adolescents reunite to record an early punk covers' LP, stealing the title from David Bowie's far better (and more interesting) 1974 all-covers LP of his '60s faves. While this LP isn't any great shakes, one must credit the players for a couple of eye-opening choices, including a few old, out-of-print, terrific early collectors' records. Covering Generation X's "Your Generation," Iggy & the Stooges' "Search and Destroy," Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer," the Clash's "White Riot," the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" and even the Sex Pistols' B-side "I Wanna Be Me" are all far too obvious choices, and can't dent the originals' greatness in the least. Ditto to a lesser extent the almost as well-known "Harmony in My Head" by Buzzcocks and the Damned's Music for Pleasure single "Stretcher Case," and why does anyone still fondly recall Lurkers ("God's Lonely Men")? OK as they were, they're outclassed in this lineup. No, this LP's value is reminding us how much we miss punk's lesser-knowns. We're talking West Coast originals such as F Word's "Do the Nihil," the Avengers' Dangerhouse classic "We Are the One," No Alternative's SF Underground 7" killer "Johnny Got His Gun" (the only early-'80s track here, which is actually the Adolescents' era); or Toronto's Viletones' obscuro "Screaming Fist"; or Manchester, England's Slaughter & the Dogs' "The Bitch" (great B-side of "Cranked Up Really High"). It's nice to hear these songs dragged out of closets and dusted off by real fans. Now, Germany's Die Toten Hosen did this same concept way better the previous year (DTH sounded like they actually were well-rehearsed -- and they somehow got all the original singers to join them on backing vocals!), and some of the more obvious covers such as "White Riot" sound pretty sloppy and paint-by-numbers. And I swear Tony Montana (or Tony Cadena, ten years ago) sang better in the past, and Frank and Rikk Agnew don't seem like they put much thought into interpreting their guitar parts; they all could have done so much more. But for both educational and fun value, this is OK, a temporal, fleeting amusement.

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