The Star Spangles Bazooka!!! (Capitol)
From the moment the lazer hits the disc & the opening chords to Live For Speed tumble down your speakers, you know youre in for a lesson in how to be a rock n roll star - & your tutors, The Star Spangles, could possibly be the last great rock n roll group on the planet - so you best pay attention at the back. Weve done the history elsewhere so we wont bore you again all you need to know right now is that the Star Spangles are here & the Star Spangles are now.
Bazooka!!! is the spiritual heir to LAMF 13 cuts of NYC Blues operating under difficult & restrictive circumstances (due to serious under-funding). These boys equipment was not bought for them by their parents, they do not live in comfortable apartments THEY ARE A REAL ROCK N ROLL BAND. Existence: hand to mouth. Operational procedure: wing & a prayer. Chances of success: marginal. Thats how it is for rock n roll in 2003.
Fashionistas will tell you that guitars are out again Garage rock has had the hep cat flap firmly slammed in its face, once again: garage bores, punk rock yawns bring on the funk, or so they say. We say: short attention span. Weve been waiting so long for a band like the SS that were not going to get bored for oohhh weeks.
Bazooka!!! contains its full quota of classic SS 45s: Which Of The Two Of Us Is Gonna Burn This House Down?, Stay Away From Me & Live For Speed, along with 10 other examples of perfect 3 minute punk, rock n roll. The SS swagger with carefree abandon - stroll with intent. Its advisable to stay out of the road when they roll into town or youll get crushed under the weight of their convictions (vagrancy, theft, drunk & disorderly).
Lyrically, the SS are chewing bubblegum with their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks - this aint poetry, thats for sure - but in a world were every cheap hack considers themselves to be on a par with Baudelaire - that somehow doesnt seem to matter. Whatever certain couplets may lack in style & finesse are more than made up for by sheer self-belief.
Its not all 1234 BLAM, either. Not by a long chalk. Ill Get Her Back is a subtle re-write of The Hoodoogurus classic power pop gem, Crime Of The Century an infectious take on the Thunders/Kramer penned original, LA & Stain Glass Shoes are intriguing signposts pointing towards LP number 2, whilst Science Fiction/Science Fact proffers tuneage Jack White would sell his collection of used tissues for.
By the time Bazooka!!! closes with The Party, youre too tired to notice that theyve skanked the drum pattern from Rockaway Beach & the riff from Kid With The Replaceable Head & somehow it doesnt seem to matter that much anyway (what does?).
The Star Spangles: Ian Wilson, Tommy Volume, Nick Price & Joey Valentine finally some names to write in the same column as Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny, Tommy, Johnny Thunders, Walter Lure, Jerry Nolan & Billy Rath.
Punk, rock ...& roll.
Johnny Forgotten tMx10 July 2003