70s LA punk band gets the reissue treatment. The Gears always seemed to be one of those bands that you always heard about but had a hell of a time coming across their releases. But thanks to Hepcat, that problem's been solved. On this CD reissue, you've got the Rockin At Ground Zero LP, the Let's Go To The Beach 7" and five unreleased demos.
As rough as it sounds, I can understand now why the Gears have somewhat been delegated to the liner notes of LA punk history. While they're a passable band, they're pretty lacking in the ferocity that many of their compatriots had; what you get here is twenty-three songs of decent punk rock with a heavy, heavy nod to 50's rock, surf and rockabilly. Like I said, it's reasonably decent ﾖ except when put in context: while LA bands like the Adolescents and Black Flag were tearing shit up in the late 70s and early 80s, the Gears were kicking out songs like "Darlin Baby" and "Elks Lodge Blues", mid-paced Buddy Hollyesque jams that just don't have much juice to them.
The band's at its best when it ditches all the pretension and just goes for it ﾖ songs like "Don't Forget To Pogo" and "Heartbeat Baby", while a little inane in their subject matter, manage to pack some weight behind em. I mean, it definitely comes across as a little dated, but it's head and shoulders above their plodding rockabilly stuff. I don't know, maybe it's a simple case of having no respect for history, but maybe a quarter of the songs on this collection come across as natural and powerful; this reissue just never really finds the needle buried in the red. I'll have to pass.
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A Body In The Gears