Album Review
Vindictives, The
Label: Cold Front Records
  • 3/5
Reviewed by HeavenlyDevil

Melodic/psychadelic Punk Rock

Throwing curveballs at a Vindictives fan is a sure fire way to lose a home run, because these fans expect it. There is nothing predictable or expected from this melodic punk rock band that has been putting out great music for the past five years. Their latest LP, HYPNO-PUNKO hasn't alienated any tuneful pop-punk fans, but will also grab a few new fans with its quirky, amusing approach to the punk rock album.

The Vindictives are marketing HYPNO-PUNKO as a cure-all for bad taste, and the first step towards a "brand new, 'punker' you." The liner notes read like an experimental new drug pamphlet, encouraging the listener to apply only three times a day, and to be weary of misusage or abrupt discontinuation. Everything about this album, from the artwork, to the red vinyl and including the irresistible music is a side-splitting adventure for the punk rock fan who needs a little less sadness and pain, and a little more lighthearted comedy in their collection.

Fast, catchy and an all around brain twister, the album definitely tops my list of "things to play at a party to really confuse the guests." You can't help but raise an eyebrow to the interwoven variations of "I Will Not", which repeats five times on the 13 track set list. The song, in its many forms, is more like a brainwashing call to arms than a poppy punk tune, but its ridiculous repetition is hard not to enjoy.

The album's artwork and content are reinventions of the circus sideshow or the traveling medicine man with the repetitive affirmations of "I Will Not" serving as the mantra to a better life. Drummer Angel, does not get a moments rest on tracks like "The Stupid Song", "More Than Nothing", and "First on the Block" bashing out a consistent back beat matched only by the persistence of bass player Johnny Personality. Personality is also responsible for hammering out the lead power chords, paired with Billy Blastoff on accompanying guitar and piano. But similar to the Dead Kennedy's, the Vindictives have their trademark with their singer Johnny Vindictive, whose cartoon-styled vocals add the loony element to the carnival events. The albums' first track "Medication Time" is the best example of Vindictive's crazy and unique style, while his reinvention of the Bing Crosby tune "Accentuate the Positive" is a close second.

Buzz on the Internet message boards linked to the Vindictives' distributor Cold Front Records, are comments of mixed emotions. One listener claims to have "listened to it once, and put it away for ever," while another considers it the bands best work, "odd, but good." This listener and reviewer found in clever, original and comical on the first run through and actually even more entertaining and irresistible on the second and third spins on the turntable. The liner notes read, "HYPNO-PUNKO is different from any other recording you will ever own", and this writer pleads no contest to that challenge.

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