Venus & the Razorblades

Songs from the Sunshine Jungle

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By the time Visa released Songs from the Sunshine Jungle in 1978, Venus & the Razor Blades were history. This would be the L.A. band's only album -- when they were together, Venus & the Razor Blades only recorded a handful of singles, although Kim Fowley had enough material in the can to put together a meaningful, if uneven, LP. All of those singles (including "Dog Food," "I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are," and "Punk-A-Rama") are included on this album, which isn't fantastic but is generally fun and entertaining. Fowley, who produced all of the songs and co-wrote most of them, envisioned Venus & the Razor Blades as an exercise in trashy fun -- tunes like "Wrong Kind of Guy" and "Victim of My Backstreet Love" can be considered early punk rock and have a bratty, sneering, in-your-face quality although they come across as humorous and tongue-in-cheek rather than genuinely threatening. Those who own the Runaways' Live in Japan will recognize "All Right You Guys" (the only song on this LP that Fowley didn't co-write) and "I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are," which isn't surprising because Fowley also managed and produced that all-girl band. A few of the tunes on this recording are less than memorable, but more often than not, Songs from the Sunshine Jungle demonstrates that Fowley had good, if imperfect, instincts where Venus & the Razor Blades were concerned.

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