Blue Meanies

The Post Wave

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When a band goes through a great deal of personnel changes, it can easily become inconsistent and erratic. Just ask the Commodores, Deep Purple, or Black Sabbath -- whenever one of those bands unveiled a new lineup in the 1980s or 1990s, you never knew if its next album would be decent or disappointing. On the other hand, The Post Wave demonstrates that a band can have numerous personnel changes and still keep it together creatively. The Blue Meanies were definitely a revolving door in the 1990s, but on 2000's The Post Wave, the Chicagoans have no problem sounding focused, tight, and inspired. Blending punk with everything from ska to jazz, this forceful, abrasive CD is as challenging musically as it is lyrically. Public Image Ltd. (PiL), the Dead Kennedys, and Gang of Four are among the obvious influences, and the pointed, often socio-political lyrics address everything from poverty ("Do the Tightbelt") to environmental concerns ("Chemicals") to racism ("All the Same"). The Meanies aren't afraid to get on a political soapbox, but their sense of humor and musical eccentricity usually keep them from sounding too preachy. "Mama Getting High on Chardonnay" manages to be funny and disturbing at the same time; the tune is about a housewife who finds no fulfillment in her suburban life and spends her days using wine as a form of escape. Like the 1974 film The Stepford Wives, "Chardonnay" has a good laugh at the expense of upscale suburbia. The Post Wave is the Meanies' first album for MCA; when they signed with a major label after eight years of recording for small indies, some fans wondered how the move would affect them creatively. But thankfully, they remain uncompromising on their first MCA release.

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