The Joykiller

Static

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AllMusic Review by

Now that the Offspring have, to their credit, admitted the predominant influence of the original (1980-1983) T.S.O.L., it's a great time for the legendary band's leader, Jack Grisham, to set loose his finest album in 13 years, one that brings back T.S.O.L.'s greatness. After several OK but not spectacular works with Cathedral of Tears and Tender Fury and one credible Joykiller LP (the nowhere near this good The Joykiller), Grisham has finally seized the mantle and played into the strengths of his sizable talent. Static is one bracing song after another, an interesting mix of the legendary balls-on attack of T.S.O.L.'s debut EP with the astonishing keyboard-laden textures and more complicated, breathy attack of their penultimate Beneath the Shadows (one of the finest U. S. post-punk LPs ever). Grisham instantly reclaims the charismatic vocal style, lyrical directness, and buckets of smart attitude that made him such a star in L. A. years previously. His bandmates charge with drive and sincerity, expertly tempering the assault in the verses and piledriving the choruses. On such instantly momentous, climactic tracks as "Sad," "Sorry," and "I Don't Know," the aggressive, early '80s Damned-like pounded piano and glacial organ (a truly dynamic element) and the "ahhh" backing vocals lay the despondent, heartsick melancholy on thick, provoking and poignant. With Static, Joykiller again point the way in how to neatly, completely avoid the pitfalls of too-trad "been there, done that" punk and forge a new brave rock & roll/pop/post-punk sound with honest, no-bullsh*t, quickening emotion. Millions should have followed T.S.O.L.'s example in 1983, and were granted a second chance to here. Static is a unique, rockin' humdinger -- a real stunner.

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