China Drum

Self Made Maniac

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China Drum's second full-length album, Self Made Maniac, has the band ripening their aggressive punk, but at the cost of losing their high-octane pop strengths. Besides "Guilty Deafness," which goes in about five directions at once -- like Swervedriver or an early, angry Dodgy -- both fervor and melody are missing from the majority of the songs. Producer Al Clay (Frank Black, Therapy?) tries to bring out a live edge and yet can't stop the material from sounding flat and coppery, like damp college rock. Perhaps tellingly, the band changed their name to the Drum shortly after the response to Self Made Maniac, and began opening up for bands like Suicidal Tendencies instead of Supergrass and Ash.

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