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SLAMMIN' WATUSIS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Slammin' Watusis (Epic) 1988
Kings of Noise (Epic) 1989

And slam they do! When this breathless Midwestern quintet thanks the Damned in the liner notes, they aren't kidding: their rip-snorting platter has the careening, free-for-all edge of those zany punk pioneers. It's buzzy fun with a message: "Won't Sell Out" champions integrity, while "It's Alright to Show You CARE" proves the Watusis aren't blank generation poseurs. Special kudos to Fast Frank Raven's sizzlin' sax.

Despite the title, Kings of Noise flirts with more mainstream approaches, as bluesy rockers ("She's a Rocker"), towering pop epics ("Hush") and gothic pseudo-metal ("Eight Ball") attempt to broaden the group's appeal. Those tracks are good enough, but they don't provide the sheer exhilaration of the gonzo stuff. Happily, "Madness & Mania" and "Everytown" prove the lads can still get nutso when inclined.

[Jon Young]
   See also Green