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Scared Of Chaka
Crossing With Switchblades
Hopeless Records


A greaser, a nerd, a hesher and a proto-punk walk into the smoking loungeÖ and decide to perform together at the school talent show. Scared Of Chaka need to discover the beauty of the side-project and call it "Mad About Sleestacks." The styles they copy are very specific, and donít play well with others. At the very least they should put some separation between the rockers and the squares. Otherwise you turn into The Troggs. Shove that AV dork into the locker.

The fast-trash garage cliché on, "Iím Atomic Baby" is like The Fluid in a good mood. I have played the song about 20 times in succession and it still rocks. The Kinks in the guitar chunks preempt the staccato vocals, creating a leap frog catapult effect. The question, "Why Are You Weird?" is answered in crazy off-kilter vocal rhythms for texture. The tune is poppy and intentionally innocent. After a few rounds, the numbed adolescence smacks of Sum 182. Apply that also to "Girls Like You." The songs "Permission To Die" "I Donít Wanna" and "Youíre Fired" with the distortion and jangle become Garage Against The Machine. Edgy dual screaming and a touch of southern crustabilly. "Whoís To Know" that Elvis Costello is the Godfather of nerd-rock? Well, not counting Buddy Holly. Speaking of Weezer, the prom-song "Crossing With Switchblades" comes complete with matching suits and a hair-sprayed head on your shoulder. They go as far as to steal the riff Weezer stole from Santo & Johnny. Speaking of Elvis Costello, "My New One" makes me think we should leave that sound to the real deal. By that of course I mean Fastball. Thereís no delicate way to say that "Glass Socket" is dead-on Aerosmith. I would not kid you about such an atrocity. Fantastic, boys. Now do Diamond Dave. With no transition we go back into 60ís garage on the instrumental "Fish Taco í98," the high spirited "C'mon, Look Out" and "It's Alright With Me." All passable tunes if you donít have Thee Headcoats readily available. The point being, Iíve heard enough smoking garage in the last month alone that Iíll never have the urge to drop this disc again.

On a scale of weird dorks my friend Foote has a crush on: one being Steve Buscemi, and ten being Owen Wilson; Crossing With Switchblades rates a three, Jack Black.

ó Ewan Wadharmi

Track Listing

  1. I'm Atomic, Baby
  2. Why Are You Weird?
  3. Permission To Die
  4. You're Fired
  5. Who's To Know
  6. Crossing With Switchblades
  7. My New One
  8. Glass Socket/Broken Jaw
  9. Fish Tacos '98
  10. C'mon, Look Out
  11. It's Alright With Me
  12. Girls Like You
  13. Shake It (Oh Yeah!)
  14. I Don't Wanna

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Mike Doughty



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