As disparate as Beastie Boys' punk beginnings and frat-rap
heyday, the feisty hardcore of Jaybird from 1988, and 1990's
rap-funk-metal Weight Of The World don't sound like the
same universe, let alone the same band. Curious that this package
recognizes Jaybird guitarist Mickey and bassist
Johnny, but ignores replacements Richie and Matt.
In fairness, though, Weight
gives songwriting credits
where none seem due on Jaybird. Considering they have no
surnames though, no harm. Both discs were produced by Bad Brains'
guitarist Dr. Know.
Jaybird offers up skateworthy hardcore built around Ernie
Parada's sick, spastic drumming, basslines that The Beasties
later appropriated for "Sabotage," and chugalug guitars.
Better than average lyrics show a social conscience, "High
heeled legs/ street corner scene/ the ripe old age of seventeen/
little pink things are now for sale/ for disease-ridden respectable
males." The staccato delivery of short-syllabled lines and
similarities to Blondie's "Rapture" provide clues
of hip-hop to come. Singer Timmy Chunks seems to be lagging
a beat behind the band, scrambling to reach that note, fighting
to match the break-neck urgency with limp vocals. Melodic, with
interesting experiments that put it on par with Total Chaos.
Just as they were making a name outside New York, they drop a
Necros-styled career-suicide bomb. Maybe someone told Chunks
he couldn't sing, and that he better try rap. They were correct
on the first count. On Weight Of The World, all the Grand
Master Flash worship comes out, along with some jazz chords
ala X, metal riffs by way of Kings' X, and funky
bass combinations like Minutemen. It's a mixture the Chili
Peppers had by then perfected, but for Token Entry
it was like trying to put a square peg into a hole yet to be drilled.
The lyrics, particularly Prada's songwriting, did improve significantly
from Jaybird (He now plays guitar and fronts The Arsons).
That Token Entry still have a following amongst old New Yorkers
and new Old Yorkers, especially fellow musicians, (H2O,
Bouncing Souls, Gorilla Biscuits) must be a testament
to their live performances. They were a CBGB's mainstay, after
all. But their recorded work isn't an impressive legacy when judged
against Gang Green, 7 Seconds, and even Angry
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