Ghoti Hook

Retrospective

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Ghoti Hook was maybe the best Christian punk band on the scene throughout the 1990s, and their breakup in 2001 prompted this compilation, which draws on the four albums the group made between 1996 and 2000. Collections like this should usually sell at midprice unless they offer previously unreleased material; this one does neither, but the quality of the music is so consistently high that one hesitates to call it a bad deal. The tunes are presented in chronological order -- a handful from Sumo Surprise, another handful from Banana Man, one choice cut from the group's all-covers album, and a few from the band's final effort, Two Years to Never. This handy arrangement lets the listener follow Ghoti Hook's progression from their beginnings as a loud, snotty, fast, and supremely tight punk outfit ("Seasons," "Shrinky Dinks") to a slightly slower but still loud, tight, and snotty punk outfit ("Estevan," "Just Fools"), and finally to the slower still, less snotty but still loud and very tight punk elder statesmen that they became in their later years ("Lullaby," "Next to Me"). The cover is a respectful version of the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind," but the album's highlight is "Tract Boy," a hilarious and strangely touching account of various failed efforts to proselyte amongst the youth ("I said Jesus, and then she walked away and that was that"). Excellent.

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