Back to the Hole!


This could've been a horror show put to plastic—maybe not as grotesque as, say, the New York Dolls or Sex Pistols live reunions, but unseemly nonetheless. Because gone-for-decades bands shouldn't embarrass themselves and their legacies by cashing in on people's memories, right? Ahhh, screw that—it's not the 45-year-olds who are hepped up about this reunion album anyway, but their kids, if you gander at the pics taken at the Adolescents' Virgin-at-the-Block in-store from a couple of weeks back—to them, the band is so old, they're like new.

We have to wonder, though, what Tony Cadena and Steve Soto and Frank Agnew (and now buttressed by ex-Social D drummer Derek O'Brien; also Frank Agnew Jr., because you can't be called the Adolescents without having an actual adolescent in the band) would've thought back in '81 if they could have seen themselves nearly a quarter-century on, still faithfully trotting out "Amoeba" and "Kids of the Black Hole," but also pointed sociopolitical stuff like "Lockdown America" ("Last breath of a dying democracy/Pax America from sea to shining sea") "Hawks and Doves" (self-explanatory, really) and "Monsanto Hayride." That last one makes us think O'Brien and Cadena have been lapping up the Anti-Flag catalog, but still, it's a great song, name-checking the long-demolished, Monsanto-sponsored House of the Future attraction at Disneyland, and then dishing on how the chemical corporation poisoned people in Alabama and Minnesota, resulting in birth defects and assorted other bits of villainy (fave lines: "Amber waves of greed!/In greed we trust! . . . You'll feed your children/Our Frankenfood!"—we likey this new, outspoken, pro-organic-farming Adolescents).

Tony Cadena still has that fabulous sneer, though he sometimes sings like he's been hanging out with Fu Manchu's Scott Hill too much. But his pipes provide lovely contrast on "Where the Children Play," all about a longing to escape the cruelties of a fucked-up planet—for punk rock, it's sweetly tender. OCConfidentialis, ultimately, a classic and proper follow-up to the Blue Album (gee-this-doesn't-sound-like-the-Adolescents Adolescents albums like BalboaFun*Zonenotwithstanding), the kind of joyously hooky punk rock that spawned a zillion shitty imitations. Maybe the Adolescents are creaky ancients now, but if there's a God, she'll let these guys get as fat and rich off this record as they deserved to during the Reagan years.



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