The Fluid

Punch N Judy

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Contrary to popular belief, Clear Black Paper wasn't the debut release from these Motor City-influenced Denver madmen. That honor went to Punch N Judy, self-produced and recorded live to eight track, then picked up (and remixed) by Germany's Glitterhouse label, at which point they came to the attention of Sub Pop. In acquiring their first non-Seattle band, the label also gained an established European outlet for their releases. If Punch N Judy doesn't leave as much of an impression as Clear Black Paper (originally recorded for Glitterhouse), it's not hard to see what Sub Pop saw in the band. Like many of the label's initial signings, the Fluid were clearly influenced by the hard-rocking proto-punk of the Stooges and the MC5, but there was a pronounced glam element à la the New York Dolls or early Alice Cooper. The songs are loud and snotty (particularly "Mousetrap" and "Madhouse," the band's name before John Robinson joined) and the playing is tight (if a tad busy), but the production could be better. And although Robinson has attitude to spare -- an essential quality for this sort of music -- his technique could use a little work (he's singing at the top of his range far too often). Fortunately, his vocal approach would improve over the course of the band's next few releases (see excellent Troggs cover "Our Love Will Still Be There" on 1990's Glue).

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