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Token Entry
The Re-Issues
I Scream Records


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 Samoans.

-Ewan Wadharmi


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