Hypothetically following in the Richard Meltzer/early Dictators tradition at first, this Los Angeles quintet led by erstwhile rock critics Metal Mike Saunders and Gregg Turner (both vocals/guitar) mucks around in the self- conscious gutter of conceptual punk satire. Unfortunately, besides being off-brand musicians, the Samoans aren’t very funny. The six-song Inside My Brain manages to spit out some snickering lyrics on “Get off the Air,” a vituperative attack on DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, but otherwise offers nothing to get excited about. The brief, well-played songs on Back From Samoa have cool titles (“My Old Man’s a Fatso,” “Tuna Taco,” “They Saved Hitler’s Cock,” etc.), but the lyrics are rarely as clever.
Yesterday Started Tomorrow adds another half- dozen terse items to the catalogue; neither the words nor the plain-issue rock tracks evince effort or imagination beyond the bare essentials. Hardly amateurish, this impersonal recording is adequate only in a technical sense.
The Gimme Samoa CD consolidates the entire 31-track contents of the band’s first three records on one disc.
Proceeding from there, STP Not LSD has great snarly guitar tone and utterly competent playing, but Saunders and bassist Todd Homer still sing the dumb-ass lyrics like they’re reading them upside down in a mirror. Although these guys are obviously intelligent junk culture junkies, their inability to follow the prime directive — garbage in, garbage out — remains an insurmountable obstacle.
Those who just can’t get enough of the Samoans’ magic will probably be anxious to own the band’s live album, an atrociously bad sounding document of a short 1979 (!) show before an audience of — judging by the uncontrollable applause — five or six. Playing standard-issue mid- tempo punk, the quintet thrashes its way through “My Old Man’s a Fatso,” “I’m in Love with Your Mom” (co-written by Meltzer), the Ramones’ “Commando” and six more.
The archival Return to Samoa consists of eight previously unissued studio tracks with Jeff Dahl singing. (He joined when Saunders left the band, temporarily, as it turned out. Dahl then left, Saunders returned and they redid all but one of the songs for inclusion on Back From Samoa.) Return also contains eight live tracks recorded in New York City in 1981.