Agony Shorthand

Friday, January 23, 2004
FINAL SOLUTIONS : “EAT SHIT” 7”EP….You’d think that with the strong support and get-get-‘em-kid encouragement of superstar Memphis tastemaker Eric Oblivian, this “Jay Reatard” fella would be able to pass the punk rock BS detector sniff test every time he tried. Ergo, I keep waiting for one of his bands’ releases to break through and knock me dead in line with the hype I keep hearing, but I’m always struck cold by the overwrought hysterics and limp, tasteless leftovers the guy’s serving up. REATARDS? An ultimately silly, pointless, barely listenable scream-fest, despite some cranked-up hard-garage guitar. LOST SOUNDS? Man, I wanted to like this band, but despite having spent real cash money to purchase their 45 GRAVE-cum-SCREAMERS “darkwave” CDs, I had to amortize them in my year-end financial review as contributing to my CD collection’s overall depreciation. I haven’t heard the BAD TIMES, and I’ll bet that due to Eric’s majestic presence they’re probably pretty good, though I hear this Jay fella still can’t help it with the bug-eyed screaming.

FINAL SOLUTIONS have got some calculated coolness issues right off the bat on this debut EP (there’s been a subsequent LP/CD as well). First, recording quality, muffled vocals, lyrics and even packaging are straight out of 1979 KBD-style rare punk rock 45 Central Casting. I’m sure it would please them no end to be mistaken for TOXIN III or the SHIT DOGS, and to their credit, they’d probably fit in pretty well on one of the later-issue, barrel-scraping “Killed By Death” editions. Except that it’s 2004, and titles/lyrics like “Eat Shit” and “I’m a Victim (of your cunt)” are, uh, a bit gauche, wouldn’t you say? Worse, they stoop to deliberately inept playing on their cover of the URINALS’ “Hologram”, up to and including missing notes accidentally on purpose. I’ve got no quarrel with trying to recreate the lost-in-time feel of this fantastic song, but pretending you can’t even play the most simple riff on earth gives insult to a band who created this masterpiece with no calculation or ulterior motive in mind. I know this guy Jay is only the drummer in this band, so maybe it’s the other fellas who need a talking-to. Eric, can you please do the dirty work?