Thursday, November 24, 2011

Victims Family - 1995 4 Great Thrash Songs

Band : Victims Family
Album : 4 Great Thrash Songs
Release Year :1995
Genre : Punk | Thrash | Jazzcore | Experimental

Tracklist :
1 Supermarket Nightmare
2 Nirvana
3 Yeah!
4 Me Vs Everything
5 Creepy People
6 August 6th
7 In a Nutshell
8 Mousetrap
9 Nopalitos
10 God, Jerry and the PMRC
11 Product
12 Baklava
13 Ugly Thing
14 Bad Karma
15 I'm So Lost
16 Song X
17 Sinatra Mantra
18 Anti-Satan Song for Mom
19 Naive Children
20 Drink the Kool-Aid
21 World War IX
22 George Benson
23 Liars, Pigs, and Thieves

Victim's Family are a talented California musical trio that have been around since the mid-80s. Well, two-thirds of the band have stuck it out that long anyway (guitarist/vocalist Ralph Spight and bassist Larry Boothroyd). Many drummers have come and gone. Currently, Dave Gleza (ex of My Name) pounds the skins and hopefully he'll be doing so for some time to come.

From the outset, VF have made it obvious that they can and will do whatever they want musically. Possessing the chops and skills of multiple musical genres, Ralph, Larry and the gang have effortlessly blended their punk rock sound (and ethos) with jazz, blues, funk, garage, psychedelia and good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. Early on, they focused more on jamming and venting than on writing, but over the years their song-writing skills did catch up to their excellent technical expertise. Alternative Tentacles was smart to snatch them up in the early '90s and never let go. VF fits wonderfully into that label's catalog of the real and the weird. I recently trawled the VF (et al.) catalog in order to indentify their finest 80 minutes of music for a compilation CD and, let me tell you... the music on that disc stands up majestically against anything from the past 20 years calling itself punk, rock, or fusion. In addition, I remember counting no less than three VF (et al.) releases among the top albums of their respective years (1994's Headache Remedy; 1998's Crowd Repellent; and 2001's Apocalicious).

In the great musical petrie dish, VF reminds me of Dead Kennedys (lyrically); Minor Threat and Stäläg 13 (musically, early on); Voivod (fusion-wise going into the '90s); and Primus and NoMeansNo (funky transitionally). Do yourself a favor and explore the Victims Family continuum if you hain't already.

This is not an EP (as and other websites would have you believe)! This here "posthumous" release is a full-length live recording of Victims Family's last show before calling it quits and morphing into SFC. It's recorded live in Europe's very own city of sin known as Amsterdam (as opposed to the U.S. "city of sin" called Las Vegas which is really only Disneyland with free booze, gambling, and dying pop stars. C'mon! Where's the reefer? The hallucinogens? How about a Red Light District? A'dam's gotcha beat LV!!) FGTS has great song selection going for it drawing equally from all prior albums. Many of these tracks sounded just okay (bordering on ho-hum) in their studio incarnations... I personally wouldn't have picked some of them for a live show. But these very same songs become undeniably invigorated when infused with VF's live performance energy. 'Me vs. Everything,' 'Product' and 'Supermarket Nightmare' come to mind immediately. We're talking a Bruce Banner as opposed to Incredible Hulk level of difference here folks... It's like they doused these songs with gamma rays before going on stage! Did I mention the recording quality and overall sound mix are both excellent? Play this one loud.

Unless you have a bootleg of some kind, this is the only place you'll find VF's unflattering ode to Frank, 'Sinatra Mantra'. And, as most of the band's pre-Alternative Tentacles stuff is out-of-print in the States, this may be the only place to hear 'Song X,' 'George Benson,' 'God, Jerry and the PMRC' and nine other tunes from the first three albums.

The title, Four Great Thrash Songs, comes from an angry letter sent to the band informing them they "suck" and only have "four great thrash songs and that's it". -Raptorial

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