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Partisans
So Neat E.P.
TKO Records


The Partisans’ first recording since 1984’s Time Was Right features two original members, which is a better average than many second-generation punk bands. Luckily, the two are singer Spike, and guitarist Lealand. It doesn’t feature their most commercially successful member, bassist Dave Parsons, who is a permanent member of Bush. The reason I bring this up is a parallel. These are two bands who are never quite able to make the record they intended. The Partisans started as a Clash/Sex Pistols/SLF cover band. Surprising how little changes after all this time.

"So Neat" is a fast-paced winking guitarred "God Save The Queen" styled number. Spike is sloppy, but then this is punk rock. What bugs me is he doesn’t sound very confident. He still sounds like an untested crackley-voiced teenager, losing grasp of the lines at the end. The non-commercial lyrics are redeeming, Calvin Klein and Reebok you’re making all the money that I ain’t got. I want to keep buying but I know I’m not clever in my pocket that way. The mild ska of "Classified Info" confirms the Clash comparisons. The guitar line could easily be replaced by steel drum and not be out of place. When it kicks in, the endearingly grating ode to unemployment is in line with The Adicts. "Hysteria" is "I Wanna Be Your Dog" without the cowbell but with urgent tandem vocals. Spike’s more aggro on this one, overlapping the vocals like a brutal ping-pong match. When he lets loose, it’s gut-wrenching fun. Lealand makes with a slow-motion rockabilly riff, and Magnus plots out some foreboding bass. The disc didn’t immediately take me. But when the wife left and the volume went up, we warmed up real nice. The songs all sound different from each other, but a lot like someone else. Like Bush, we may never know what The Partisans themselves sound like. Here’s hoping they make the record that satisfies them. I have a feeling they’d blow our minds.

On a scale of formerly punk bands who inexplicably turned into the Grateful Dead: If one is Meat Puppets and ten is Mr. T Experience, So Neat rates a seven, Soul Asylum.

Complaints Dept : You’d think they’d have come into their own by now.

Ewan Wadharmi

  1. So Neat
  2. Classified Info
  3. Hysteria

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