Riverfenix

Riverfenix

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Naming their snotty pop-punk band after River Phoenix was probably one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time for Houston's Riverfenix. But after signing with Drive-Thru and landing in MCA's corporate bathroom via the powerhouse punk-pop label's lucrative distribution agreement, the funny four-piece quickly became Fenix TX. This album is all that remains of those heady days of yore before Riverfenix was resequenced and reconstituted as Fenix's MCA debut. It's disappointing that Riverfenix/Fenix TX stalled out after this debut (2001's Lechuza sort of went nowhere) because it's a fast-paced, often hilarious record that doesn't scrimp on the hooks. "Apple Pie Cowboy Toothpaste" is Grade A, melodic pop-punk and even incorporates Lamar's rap from Revenge of the Nerds. "Skinhead Jesse" tears into ska and Oi! clich├ęs with the merciless wit of a backroom class clown, and even if "Speechless" and "Ben" are by-the-numbers, heart-in-hand mall punk, they're catchy and well-played. Song title winner: "Jean Claude Trans Am." The track is totally ridiculous, but most bands never even get to put such a title on one album, let alone a record that molted into a renamed offering from MCA. Here's hoping the Fenix TX guys look back at their Riverfenix days, realize Sum 41 stole their act, and get back to playing rapid-fire jams chock full of stoopid humor.

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