REVIEW: SOMETHING FIERCE - DON’T BE SO CRUEL CD (Dirtnap, Portland)
If Ken Dirtnap had any morals at all, this album would be packaged with a phone number for addictions counselling. But, he obviously doesn’t, so here I am reviewing a record I’ve slavishly listened to maybe 1023 times now; and running the risk of getting who-knows-how-many until-now productive members of society hopelessly hooked.
SOMETHING FIERCE offers up slick, well-written, well-produced, well-played powerpop like THE MARKED MEN et al but with some VERY serious CLASH overtones. So much so that I hear the CLASH way more than any of SF’s powerpop contemporaries. From ‘Police & Thieves’ to the more accessible stuff on THE CLASH’s weirder albums, like ‘Street Parade’ or ‘Police On My Back’ off Sandinista, this album sounds like THE CLASH’s ghost possessing a modern-day powerpop band.
Those throbbing basslines, the slashed guitar flourishes, those snappy drums, the airy-but-urgent vocals, the occasional skank — it all adds up to the best of THE CLASH, and the result’s an album full of songs that’ll have you doing that chin-stab/shoulder-jerk dance Paul Simonon did while playing his bass.
Hey — Did a lot of DILLINGER 4’s songs sound like that ‘O.K.F.M.D.O.A.’ track they did? If they did, then these guys kinda sound like DILLINGER 4 too. If they didn’t, disregard.
SOMETHING FIERCE knows how to sink the claws in, so look out. The melodies, the hooks, the harmonies… it’s all one shiny trap. You’ve been warned. Don’t stumble in blindly like some dumbass looking to get his leg snared. NOT SHITTY
A review of the album’s artwork: It’s a photo of the band with their instruments in some insanely tangled woods. I dunno. I’m not a big fan of any band shots that aren’t live. This one’s not terrible, but I’m not exactly losing my mind over here. I could be a nice guy and let it pass with a NOT SHITTY rating, but Ken Dirtnap’s gotta pay SOMEHOW for getting me hooked on this. KINDA SHITTY
- BEN JENSEN