WHAT WE DID
GRAND THEFT AUDIO
After years spent moldering in some Connecticut closet, the last elusive component of the Cleveland proto-punk trifecta is finally getting a little sun. When godhead group Rocket From the Tombs split in 1976, the fragments re-emerged as art punks Pere Ubu (whom you've heard of), trash rockers the Dead Boys (whom you've heard of) and Saucers, Tombs bassist Craig Bell's garage-y pop band, of whom the world has heard very very little till this comprehensive lost-tapes reissue. Half the fun here is in indulging your compare-and-contrast nerdism: Saucers turn Bell's signature first-wave song "Final Solution" from a creepy suicide song into an almost hapless psych-guitar freakout; "Slow Down" plays spacey little brother to Tombs guitarist Peter Laughner's ballad "Amphetamine." But once Saucers dropped too-enthusiastic keyboardist Malcolm Doak, they found a solid sound of their own, a sort of Nuggets halfway between Ubu's irradiated guitar skronk and the Dead Boys' booze-and-leather bad-boy-isms. "Hypnotized," "I Didn't Get It" and "Roadmaster" are snarly guitar-vs.-organ knife fights in a dark alley somewhere between 1969 and 1977, broken up by the sappy, sad-boy song "Certain Kind of Shy" and organist/guitarist Katherine Cormack's peppy "Quiet Boy." The chronological arrangement of the songs suits Saucers well; in perfect Clevelandian tradition, they broke up just as they were really getting good—and it took 20 years for us to hear most of it. (Chris Ziegler)
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