New Bomb Turks

  • New Bomb Turks
  • !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!! (Crypt) 1992 
  • So Cool, So Clean, So Sparkling Clear EP7 (Datapanik) 1992 
  • Drunk on Cock EP (Engine) 1993 
  • Information Highway Revisited (Crypt) 1994 
  • Pissing Out the Poison (Crypt) 1995 
  • Scared Straight (Epitaph) 1996 
  • At Rope's End (Epitaph) 1998 
  • Nightmare Scenario (Epitaph) 2000 
  • The Blind Run EP10 (UK Epitaph Europe) 2000 

Bad taste — and attitude — is timeless. That’s a tacit understanding in the ranks of this Columbus, Ohio quartet, which was weaned on the nectar of late-model Midwest punk before moving on to solid sustenance like Johnny Thunders bootlegs, garage-rock obscurities and Deliverance-primitive rockabilly tumult. Like all of its influences, the New Bomb Turks is unequivocally a singles band (as borne out by the 20-odd 7-inchers they’ve loosed on trash culture vultures worldwide), but the band’s more sustained salvos betray plenty of stamina in the bloodline as well.

Like many of his predecessors, peripatetic Turks screamer Eric Davidson plays hide’n’seek with his keen wit, dotting some songs with clever cultural references — both high- and low-brow-and stomping through others with neanderthal thickness. So Cool, So Clean, So Sparkling Clear, the 7-inch wisenheimer debut, hits with the economic bluntness of a blackjack swipe, both in its covers (Radio Birdman’s “Do the Pop” and the Nervous Eaters’ “Just Head”) and in the ramalama originals (both of which are reprised on the band’s first album). Over the course of !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!!‘s sixteen cuts, the Turks exhibit an innate mastery of rock’n’roll’s truly important gestures — the flipped bird, the dropped trou, the beer-stein hoist — not to mention a devotion to the hallowed three-chords-and-a-cloud-of-phlegm formulation that dates back to the ’50s. While “Tail Crush” evokes the no-fi frat-stomp of the Sonics and “Long Gone Sister” injects a megadose of caffeine into a rockabilly romp, the Turks seem most drawn to the fanboy-as-theorist-as-degenerate-rocker spirit of the Dictators, who would likely nod in approval at the cagey “Born Toulouse-Lautrec” and “Let’s Dress Up the Naked Truth.”

Drunk on Cock is more single-minded in its adherence to the loud-fast rules, but a righteously rockin’ tribute to kindred spirits (“American Soul Spiders,” which celebrates the Japanese trash-rock combo of the same name) and a maddeningly memorable anti-anthem (“This Place Sucks”) stay with you like a White Castle belly bomb. Its title aside, there’s nothing remotely moderne about the decidedly Detroit-inspired meltdown Information Highway Revisited: guitarist Jim Weber just about empties his bag of James Williamson tricks on “Id Slips In” and “Bullish on Bullshit” (an opaque rewrite of the Stooges’ “Sick of You”). Davidson waxes atypically reflective on “Brother Orson Welles” (an ominous art-vs.-commerce rant) but there’s no shortage of broad humor — as documented on the jeering “Apocalyptic Dipstick,” a perfect antidote for anyone in danger of a politico-punk overdose.

Pissing Out the Poison drains the quartet’s reservoir of rarities, most of which bear the all-in-good-fun sonic bruises common to on-the-fly recordings. Besides exhibiting the Turks’ proficiency as a gutter-rat bar band (on such covers as the Modern Lovers’ “I Wanna Sleep in Your Arms” and Hawkwind’s “Ejection”), the fully-loaded 26-song collection gives some nifty in-progress looks at catalogue staples: the first EP/LP’s “Cryin’ in the Beer of a Drunk Man” (also revamped here as “Croonin’ in the Beer of a Drunk Man”) and “Girl Can Help It.” More fun than a slingshot loaded with rotten eggs.

[Deborah Sprague]