ROCK N ROLL TRASH - Fast Boys (Zodiac Killer Records)
If the Blank Generation vacant stares and op shop threads in the front cover band shot aren't a giveaway, song titles like "Fast Boys DTK", "Self Polluted" and "Yobs Generation" should yield a clue. Fast Boys nominate the relatively benign surrounds of Spartanburg, South Carolina, as their place of residence on their unemployment benefit forms, but in their eyes the world ended at the edge the Lower East Side circa 1978. Which is heartening when you realise that they're so young they were all still itches in their fathers' pants back then...
There's more snot in this album that a ward-full of Swine Flu patients and there are parts where it's not half as pretty. If you want to blame someone, pin it on the Dolls, the Heartbreakers and the Dead Boys. Where Fast Boys beg to differ is in their penchant for brevity. Where the Thunders et al would chug away until the inevitable chemical cravings necessitated a toilet break or at least time off for a change of strings, Fast Boys cram 14 songs into their 31 minutes of fame with half of them clocking in at two minutes or less.
It's twin-guitars at 20 paces. The lead breaks sound mostly overdubbed and more than a little heavy-handed, but who cares. It's called "Rock N Roll Trash" for a reason. If mouthpiece Pretty Boy's wail and the rest of the guys' backing vox get a bit ragged at times (I'm listening to "Yobs Generation" as I type) then I don't have an issue. I actually don't want to listen to the Vienna Boys Choir. There's lots of bottom end and a keen edge to the guitars that would rip apart raw steak from half a block away.
The Fast Boys' songs keep coming at you like blowflies escaping a fridge full of rotten meat, dropping their payload and either fading out or grinding to a shuddering halt. This is what kids sound like when you leave them in the studio with their toys, even when they're less than complimentary about the guy who engineered it. (I mean, who really wants to be known as a "mullet-headed jackass"?)
If sloppy isn't a byword for Fast Boys because it's a way of life, the marked exception is a fairly boss cover of "New Rose". Faithfully delivered, it's saved from humdrum by a mean streak of energy right down its middle. A cover that's well covered.
No idea about their lifestyle choices and for all I know they're all Junior Rotarians and past employees-of-the-month at their local Jack In The Box, but Fast Boys fairly nail the ethos of sounding like they intend being for here a good time rather than a long one.
After writing this I Googled hard enough to find an online shit-fight between band members and two clueless critics at their local paper. Points win to the youngsters there.
- The Barman
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