This month’s surprise #2: Fear return after six years… and thankfully they still sound the same as they’ve always sounded! Really, the big surprise here is that Fear’s American Beer steps up to the bar, ready to down some cold ones and do bloody battle with all the beach-blanket-bingo sloth passing for punk rock these days, the winner obviously being Fear. Yep, if you’ve The Record or More Beer, then you’ve definitely heard American Beer, as Fear’s sound n’ style aren’t so much drastically unique as they are unmatched by most, past or (especially) present. Then again, surprises abound on the album: only four songs about beer (“The Bud Club,” “Beer:30,” “Beerheads,” and “Another Christmas Beer”), a fittingly punked-up cover of Willie Dixon’s “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man,” the shocking lack of profanities (wot is this, the Wal-Mart version!?), the near-Lifetime overtones of the soberingly serious “I Don’t Care Without You” (versus the seriously un-sober “I Don’t Care About You (Fuck You)” off the debut), and the fact that frontman Lee Ving (a.k.a. “Mr. Body”) has assembled a brand-new crew who sounds exactly like all the old ones. So, expect another album — say, five or six years from now — when punk rock is in a state of emergency; maybe then Fear could one-up Gang Green with Older… Budweiser II.
Hall Of, P.O. Box 69281, West Hollywood, CA 90069; http://www.HORmusic.com