November 4, 1999
The road has been a long one for Milwaukee's [a]Violent Femmes[/a]...
6 / 10
The road has been a long one for Milwaukee's Violent Femmes. Eighteen years is a lot of gigs and a lot of motel rooms. Always very much a cultish live band - and one who can play their instruments properly - it was inevitable that sooner or later a live album would appear. And an acoustic one at that.
But even without the assistance of electricity, these punk-folk shitkickers somehow manage to wring the necks of their songs, dragging them into the woods to be buried in a shallow grave. Despite their age, though, the nastiness of their records lives on. Gordon Gano's murderous, illegitimate-teenager vocals are apparent on the stiff-sheeted adolescent angst of 'Add It Up' and 'Black Girls', while at the other end of the maturity scale, 'Country Death Song', a father's confession of rural infanticide, predates today's alt-country shenanigans.
As it is with Tom Waits and Julian Cope, there will always be an unpleasant smell of student-halls-of-residence sadness about Violent Femmes; you can only imagine the bizarre 'Blockbuster'-type hand-dancing during 'Blister In The Sun'. It's Firkin punk, if you like, but Violent Femmes can still make your skin crawl and feet tap. Which is more than can be said for wannabes like Gomez.
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