Photo by Christine MarieSocial Distortion
Sex, Love, And Rock 'n' Roll
Time Bomb Recordings
Sure, we're about two months late with this review—but why hurl ourselves into a sea of September blather when we can instead sneak in the last word? So, yeah, there's been an eight-year wait between albums, there have been personal tragedies and solo treks into country and blues, but there's one constant we've finally become resigned to with this record: the fact that Mike Ness is forever destined to make the same goddamn Social Distortion album over and over again. Which is why we get the same buzz saw Gibsons, the same Ness-as-constipated-toad snarl and the same song title clichs ("Reach for the Sky," "Winners and Losers"). His lyrics are as predictable as ever, with lines about life being a "roll of the dice" (cringe!) and how "tomorrow may never come" (wince!)—and when Ness groaned, "Don't think about the future," we bet a friend listening with us that " . . . and just forget about the past" was sure to follow, and sure enough, we won. But whaddya want? It's a typical Social D record. Ness has auto-piloted his sonic machine to the point where people would be mighty pissed he strayed it too much, and that loyalty is how he can still stuff bodies into the House of Blues over several weeks' time—he's a precision product maker, far from genius but expert at crafting exactly what's expected. And yet it's still some pretty great rock & roll music, comforting in an era when there's just not that much being made anymore, even from vets who've lasted just as long as Ness. Really—what other band do we have to compare Social D with these days? Simple fucking Plan? We recoil at the very idea.
Five-song demo CD
Heavy/scuzzy proto-psychedelia, redundant to the extreme. Yet there's something eternally appealing about a lead singer who moans beatifically over a flurry of distorted, atmospheric guitar explosions. (Is it the drugs? Probably!) And while these kids would probably like nothing more than to hook up with Roger Waters and David Gilmour and re-create Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, they show a flair for intricate melodies and heavy riffs that would curdle lesser bands. As for their proggier side, this demo is awash in wah-wah pedals and slinky piano-bass maneuvers cut straight from the FM playlists of 1971. Nothing anybody around the world hasn't heard before, but as far as this county goes, nobody else is making anything like it, not even the Floyd or Sabbath tribute bands. So does this make the Soundhead the best psych-prog band in OC? Jeez, all we know for sure is they're a much better, deeper band than they were when we saw them live at the old Koo's eons ago, so sure—why not?
OC and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701-7417.
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