No Trend

Tritonian Nash-Vegas Polyester Complex

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One thing music fans (and historians) often forget is this: It might be called punk, but that doesn't mean it's simply filled with screaming noise. As an art form, punk rock can be as multidimensional as any other, and the underrated No Trend was a pretty solid example of that truth, especially on this album. Drifting from the bluesy saxophone sound of "Fred Reality" and "Cry of the Dirtballs" to the surf funk of "One Under Parr" and "Overweight Baby Boom Critter" to, of course, the no-holds-barred hardcore of "Without Me," No Trend covered a good amount of ground with a sizeable dose of biting humor. For a belly laugh at the Reaganite nightmare of the band's 1986 culturescape, thumb through the riotous "Space Disco" ("Beat your children in the supermarket aisles/Sidewalk sales and overflowing garbage pails/There's a dead animal on my street/No one cleans it up/It's been there for weeks") or the aforementioned hilarious "Overweight Baby Boom Critter" ("Baby boom/You are the trend/You are the disease/From Woodstock to Muzak/Polyster values/Your children want to kill you"). Cliff Ontego's lead vocals are more cathartic screaming and squealing than by-the-numbers singing, recalling Jello Biafra without the swagger or Black Francis without the bottomless depth. And although the music is a few notches below the high-octane output of No Trend peers such as Fishbone and the Minutemen, it's still in your face and fun as hell. By the time the frenetic but catchy "Choc-O-Jet" helps wind up the album, you'll be thinking about thanking Touch & Go for re-releasing this subversive slice of social history.

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