Monday, October 11, 2010

Review #165: Minutemen - The Punch Line (1981)


Year: 1981
Genre: Hardcore Punk
SST Records
14 Minutes
My Rating:

The Punch Line was the first full album released by the Minutemen in 1981, a year after their first EP, "Paranoid Time". When recording this album, the band tried to save as much money as possible by recording all the songs in one take in the order they were to appear on the album in on an already used tape late at night during one session. The album is also pretty short, as a result. Most songs on the album are less than one minute long. SO LET'S MAKE LIKE A MINUTEMEN AND REALLY QUICKLY JUMP TO THE CONCLUSION WHICH IS THAT I'M GOING TO REVIEW THIS ALBUM WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.

1. Search
Very funky feelin'. I like it. Cool guitar melody and a lot of neat-o bass guitar from Mike Watt. I swear he said "put your dick inside" in one part. Tehehe. Pretty danceable, though.

2. Tension
This one's a bit faster. The main melody is played on the bass guitar and it reminds me vaguely of the bass riff for "T.V. Party" by Black Flag, though I think that song came later. Neat guitar solo with a good accompanying rhythm riff. The second part is a lot faster. One of the few songs on the album over a minute long.

3. Games
Here's a guitar riff that sounds simultaneously upbeat and downbeat. What the hell either of those mean, don't ask me! I'm just a FUCKFACE. HAHAHAHA. But it's a good song. I like it. Very short, though.

4. Boiling
This song's about racism and racial segregation and hate crimes in modern society. The band is pretty talented at creating melodies that go beyond the simplicity of most of their contemporaries.

5. Disguises
This song has an awesome bass melody and beat and it warns of "fascism in disguise".

6. The Struggle
This song talks about the struggle of the working class throughout history against their oppressors, and D Boon proclaims that his sons could be the ones to finally tear down the barrier between the rich and the poor.

7. Monuments
Awesome beat and rhythm guitar melody. That part cuts out during the verse, and then there's more rhythm in the chorus. Lots of different parts in the song besides typical verse/chorus shit. Really cool, almost no-wavey feeling.

8. Ruins
Aggressive vocals. Awesome fast beat. George Hurley sings during the middle part of the song. The guitars sound like chiming bells.

9. Issued
The song pokes fun at the military, making the calls of a general yelling to "issue your number". The psychedelic-funk licks keep coming. End of Side A.

10. The Punch Line
I like the guitar melody on this one, also. Kind of reminds me of a fast train or something. D Boon sings with contempt of General George Custer, describing how he must have died looking like a porcupine from the arrows that Indians shot into his body, and also with "shit in his pants". Hah.

11. Song for El Salvador
This song is an instrumental. The bass melody is just great, here. Really short song, though. D Boon was actually a member of NGO Committee in Solidarity with the People in El Salvador, a socialist United States organization which opposed U.S. funding and support of the Salvadoran military.

12. History Lesson
This song's really good, too. It describes the human quest for power throughout history, starting all the way back to our cave-man days, to the invention of religion, tools, weapons, metal, and proclaiming that "it was all for power".

13. Fanatics
This song calls the popular political ideologies "fanatics" and questioning their support of death.

14. No Parade
I really like the melody for this song. It's awesome. Easily one of the best songs on the album. It criticizes the entertainment industry which has tried to glamorize war, especially war and killings in the past, even though their are no parades from the real native american heroes who died trying to protect their land at the hands of greedy colonists.

15. Straight Jacket
What a sexy bass melody. Cool drum sound, also.

16. Gravity
This song alternates between quiet and tense to aggressive and loud. I like it.

17. Warfare
Pretty epic beat. Sounds like something dramatic happening... perhaps warfare itself.

18. Static
Similar beat to "Warfare", but a little faster. Nice guitar sound. The song warns the right wing that their ideas could lead to the destruction of the whole country. That's all.

The songs are real short and fast, so it's hard to really SINK into anything, but it matters because there's so much melody and complexity in the music of this band as opposed to most punk groups. It's a good album, though. Hadn't really listened to it before this review. Awesome cover-art, by the way. But check it aut, and most of you probably had, but I hadn't, and I now I have, so I hope you also have. So, HAVE a good evening. I'm gonna go see if I can get in on my first band practice tonight!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. No Parade
2. History Lesson

3. Song for El Salvador

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