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The Riffs
Dead End Dream
TKO Records

Can I get a little more vocal in the monitor?  I like the sloppy drunken slur of ’77 style punk, but don’t make me read the liner notes.  Sleaze by the gallon and honest-to-God stretch jeans.  I recently rescued a pair of red snakeskin patterned stovepipes myself.  The mob vocals are so matched that it sounds like a whole gang of the same guy.  But as mentioned, it may just be buried under mud.  This’ll grow on you if your punk trashy and spiced with blues. The Riffs aren’t opposed to melody in the music, but they’re not married to on key vocals.  Me neither.  Let the chips fall, young tough.

Tunes like “Just Another Night” offer plenty to hang your balls on. An attractive simple guitar line and chorus inebriated on testosterone.  The minor complaint is the high level of repetition.  In one of those pleasing subtleties, the interest increases as the vocals rise up at Here it comes again.  “White Line Kids” is agreeable enough for a coke song.  Not quite as interesting, but better than a lot of music that came out of CBGB’s.  “It Aint Easy” takes a suspiciously similar guitar line and improves on it.  It’s louder, faster and snottier.  And God knows I love the handclaps.  Back to the garage for “Such A Bore.”  Extra beats get stuck in the measures like a beautiful three-assed freak. 

They keep chanting they have “Nowhere Left To Go” but still don’t give up.  At 3:30 and with two rhythm breaks, it’s about a minute too long. “Down The Street” has the camaraderie of class frustration.  The traditional junkie song “Kick Time Suicide” is steeped in relevance rather than nostalgia.  Although they reference, Watching Steve McQeen going to the city/And I just want to die/kicking and shaking through the late night movie/Why do I even try?  As expected the guitar-work smacks of Johnny Thunders.

Nere-do-well atonal vocals on “Chelsea Says” sound like a bit of Wire.  “In The City” is not The Jam song, but it owes to them and Stiff Little Fingers.  The police condemnation and borrowed lines attest, There’s no safety in numbers/They lead the blind/get you with a truncheon/thugs in uniform to appease their crimes.  The drums splat nicely as gruff vocal parts over-run each other.  Most laudable is the captivating use and misuse of structure.  The Heartbreakers get another nod on “Dead End Dream.” Not Tom Petty, try to keep up there, Shortbus. 

I consider Dead End Dream roughhouse music for Y-chromosomes.  I’ll try it out on the wife, but I suspect she lacks both the stones and the stomach for it.  On a scale of my western shirts the missus hates:  one being the depiction of a brothel on the yoke, and ten being green hippos and brown tooling; Dead End Dream rates a seven Shiva (the Eastern Western.)

Ewan Wadharmi

Track Listing

  1. Just Another Night
  2. White Line Kids
  3. It Ain’t Easy
  4. Such A Bore
  5. Nowhere To Go
  6. Down The Street
  7. Kick Time Suicide
  8. Chelsea Says
  9. In The City
  10. Dead End Dream

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