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
- So Neat
- Classified Info
in the webboard
e-mail the chief
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