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DIDJITS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Fuzzjob (Bam Bam-Touch and Go) 1986
Hey Judester (Touch and Go) 1988
Hornet Piñata (Touch and Go) 1990
Full Nelson Reilly (Touch and Go) 1991

Give a sarcastic kid a guitar and a mic, and watch out. This Champaign, Illinois trio blurts intelligent dumbness over thrashy midtempo rock with an above-average chordal backbone. Showing more enthusiasm than concern for musical precision, singer/guitarist Rick Sims praises "Wingtips" while poking fun at Jerry Lee Lewis and "California Surf Queen" on Fizzjob, co-produced by Iain Burgess. The album's one-take roughness suits the off-the-cuff lyrics; while Sims' rhythm guitar playing has room to develop, he does show plenty of hyperactive promise.

The Didjits ramped up the velocity, focus and ferocity for Hey Judester. Amid a sharply defined rock powerdrive (drummer/brother Brad Sims gets the most-improved star), Rick sings (the surly "Dad"), shouts ("Max Wedge") and shrieks (a frantic freakout cover of Little Richard's "Lucille," to which he adds key-busting piano) increasingly demento lyrics. A powerful dose of Midwest madness (the fishing songs are priceless) that packs a serious punch. The CD contains Fizzjob as a bonus.

Hornet Piñata is a slamming melody-rock LP that — except for the vocals — belies the Didjits' jokey beginnings. Sims' decisive guitar work shoots spears with stunning velocity and intensity as the pounding rhythm section deftly keeps pace. While most of the blitzed-out songs concern automotive topics (from "Evel Kneivel" to "Gold Eldorado"), the 'Jits stop to cover the MC5 ("Call Me Animal") with considerable skill and Jimi Hendrix ("Foxey Lady") with, er, enthusiasm (and car sounds).

[Ira Robbins]