Music Reviews

Rubber City Rebels

Pierce My Brain

Wide Hive

Original ‘77 punks Rubber City Rebels only got around to recording one album and a half way back when, but they are still hailed by everyone from old buddies Bizarros to Turbonegro as underground legends. Years of inactivity and “proper” jobs came to an end a couple of years back, when Rod Firestone and Buzz Clic rounded up a new rhythm section and started doing the odd gig on a semi-regular basis. This resulted in 2000’s Live from Akron City, and now Pierce My Brain, their first studio album in two decades.

Debating whether it’s been well worth the wait raises the question about whether anyone actually cared in the first place. Probably not, but it’s still a pleasant return to form from these hardcore old-school (yet strangely genre-bending) punks. Rubber City Rebels wear their Alice Cooper influence on their sleeves, something at which most “original” punks scowl. They even cover the amazingly un-punk Status Quo’s “Paper Plane,” without even trying to take the piss. Elsewhere, “I Don’t Wanna Be A Punk No More” is a splendidly self-mocking anthem (“I want my real name again, I wonder what it was”) and “Pierce My Brain” is an invigoratingly fresh slab of Ramones punk.

Unfortunately, Firestone has probably devoted the better part of the last two decades to his regular computer engineering job rather than to songwriting, as there is copious filler here (although his lyrics are always good, dumb fun). However, the Rebels’ playing is tight and focused, and there’s a sense of good-times punk running throughout. All in all, it’s a far better comeback album than anyone could have expected.

Wide Hive Records:

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