Tuesday, January 10, 2012

DEAD KENNEDYS “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables”, 1980


Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables


The first wave of UK punk was at its tail end with anarchist politics often considered more important than producing interesting music.  In the US the first wave of heavily political punk bands “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables” a provocative edge that messed with heads and lead to ongoing debates with right wing organizations.   Due to the speed the band play at some listeners could have been convinced that the record they were playing on 33 was mistakenly pressed and meant to be played at a slower pace.   As punk albums should the recording quality sounds like it was all done in one take using a walkman placed a safe distance away from Dead Kennedys explosiveness.   Jello Biafra’s distinctive nasally voice carries more than a side of biting sarcasm over East Bay Ray’s surf guitar tones and clenched fist tight rhythm section. A natural organicness punches through in the catchy choruses and breakneck speed of “Kill The Poor” and “Chemical Warfare”.  “Drug Me” mows along like a loud lawnmower as it cuts through the air with absolutely no messing around.  A nasty metallic raw edge throws razor blade spikes in “California Uber Alles” and the rapid rollicking classic “Holiday in Cambodia”.    After the similar “Plastic Surgery Disasters”, the band experimented more with speed in later albums whilst pointing fingers at authority figures and mindless sheep in the punk scene.  Short spastic blurs are barely contained within “In God We Trust”.   Despite being mostly filled with short and fast songs, “Plastic Surgery Disasters” feels bloated under a weighty grand total of 21 songs.   Jello kept busy with many musical and spoken word projects after Dead Kennedys split.  When the band reformed this century to do reunion shows Biafra was not involved due to ongoing legal battles with his former band members and many fans viewed this as a farce because the complete package wasn’t up for grabs.  

1 comment:

justin said...

just did a DKs post myself and linked back here because your way with words makes mine look like I did it with a crayon. Love the DKs. Thanx Chris

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