Moronic Pleasures – The Candy Snatchers (Hound Gawd!)
Rarely does the cliché “all killer no filler” stick in real life but here’s an example where it does. Recorded in 1997, shelved while the band did other things, and then issued digitally 20 years later, this little-known gem has finally made it to vinyl.
Saying it’s been worth the wait is like calling Isis just a little heavy-handed just after they’ve buried your nearest and dearest up to the neck in sand and wheeled out the harvesting machine.
The Candy Snatchers were one of America’s best-kept secrets back in the ‘90s. With the unbridled energy of The Dragons, the unrestrained spite of the drug-fucked Stooges and the sheer power of the Dead Boys, these Virginia Beach miscreants bled over US stages for about 16 years, before guitarist Matthew Odietus clocked out at the tender age of 40. They have returned to stages sporadically without him.
The Candy Snatchers left a trail of seven-inch singles, CDs and battered bodies behind them. My own belated introduction came via the 2005 album “Ugly on the Outside", and you might have clocked their balls-out cover of “Murder City Nights” on the “Flattery” Radio Birdman tributes.
This album was almost pronounced dead and buried after being recorded by Dean Rispler (Dictators NYC, he Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black) in Brooklyn while the band was on tour. It seems some of the production touches weren’t to everybody’s (Odietus’) liking, so the album’s release was put on the backburner. It made it to cassette dubs, to be passed around by the faithful. Like a dose of the clap.
One of the uber fans (of the band - not the clap), Jake Starr, released the downloadable version of “Moronic Pleasures” in 2017, via his own Fandango Records’ Bandcamp, where you can still grab some bonus tracks. German label Hound Gawd - connected to Candy Snatchers singer Larry May through his current band, The Ringleaders – has plunged on this physical LP version. And it smokes.
The guitar of Matthew Odietus is like napalm on “Moronic Pleasures”. You can’t shake it off for trying and it barely lets up throughout these 19 songs Just like James Williamson circa “Raw Power”, he knows only one way through – and that’s by way of a full frontal assault.
Drummer Sergio Ponce and bassist Willy Johns ride out each track like they’re dodging tracer fire above a trench-line. Breakneck speed and built to thrill.
Larry May sounds like he’s gargling lighter fluid and chasing it with a lit match. That’s in his more restrained moments. Sounding this unhinged while still holding a tune is some sort of party trick. Just you try it at home and think the cops won’t come knocking.
Best lytic on the record? “I’ve got no time to waste! I’m just a drunk-ass motherfucker who ran outta space!” Nobody needed a PhD in English Literature to write that. Best you believe him.
You’ve heard “Fresh Rag”, the lost Stooges song perpetuated by the short-lived Asheton-Williamson version of the band played that was issued in its raw glory on a disc from Easy Action? It’s hammered out by The Candy Snatchers with an accurate version of the original riff but with intelligible lyrics. Which of course are about fucking.
The Candy Snatchers don’t need other people’s songs to sound more alive than a cranky cobra shoved down the back of your pants when you’re suffering flatulence. Most of them clock in at less than 90-seconds (“Such a Fool” is almost prog rock at 2min20s.)
“Colour Me Blood Red”, the anthem “Pissed Off Ripped Off Screwed”, “Hooligan” and “Hard Up” should each come with a set of fangs or at least a public health warning.