Before Cody Nielson can yelp the first two words that outline the credo for this album, an absurdly simple and driving riff worthy of Deep Purple’s Machinehead lets the game slip. Sometimes the simplest explanation IS the best. The Mints (the Chicks?) have discovered their groove.
On last year’s F**k the Golden Youth, lacklustre rerecorded versions of the best from their EPs sat uneasily beside polished Buzzcocks homages. This album finds the band trading the erratic helter-skelter song structures of the past for more focused, slick pop songs, as the bio puts it ‘The Beach Boys have, for the moment, gained the upper hand on the Locust’. Which is not to say this dips into mediocrity at any time.
Pop isn’t always a dirty word. The hooks that bubbled up previously never outstayed their welcome amongst the Blood Brothers post-punk, but if you’re going to repeat one over and over for three minutes, it’s got to be good. The madcap experimentation hasn’t completely disappeared though, appearing as Bizzaro Zarro Land interludes between songs; ‘If My Arm Was a Mic Stand Would You Hold My Hand?’ even ventures a guitar solo amongst
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the Ruinsstyle cut-up that passes for its structure and an instrumental outro builds to a tantalizing half-climax of noise that will just make you laugh and want to spin the forty-five minute album again.
Moulding together classic British punk (‘You’re Just As Confused As I Am’ & ‘Walking Off A Cliff Again’ could pass for Buzzcocks covers), 80s new wave (check out the clipped Blondie vocals in ‘This is
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Your Last Chance to Be Famous’), postpunk, Sabbathian heavy-metal riffs and ye olde Flying Nun into a sound that is very much their own, Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! is utterly modern yet strangely timeless, and worth owning for the surrealist felt-tip art alone. Here’s hoping the Beach Boys haven’t won out over the Locust in their cathartic live show…
THE MINT CHICKS PLAY THE SANFRANCISCOBATHHOUSE ON SATURDAY THE 16TH OF SEPTEMBER WITH THIS NIGHT CREEPS (THE FAREWELL TOUR!), THE VACANTS, SUNNY TOKYO AND FIGHTING THE SHAKES