Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Let This Be Your Bailiwick

Thanks to another intrepid YouTube poster, I am afforded a long-lost gem of South Bay hardcore, The Detonators' Emergency Broadcast Systems (1983). My bootlegged cassette of it has long since deteriorated into dust, probably around 1986, after a few hundred listens (courtesy the perennial connoisseurship of Papa Jon). My (admittedly half-hearted) search for this album since that time has come up dry.

But here it is, thank Fortune. Forgive me, but I am experiencing a Proustian moment; I'm listening to it as I write. I may even unabashedly describe this album's sound as "urgent." How is it possible for me to know every intro, hook, drum fill, and chorus after 26 or so years? I just dig the frenetically strummy guitars, especially in songs like "Mindless Control" and "We're Waiting." Here is a band that obviously loved Stiff Little Fingers as much as I did (and still do).

Lyrically, they steered clear of didactic politics without becoming sterile or solipsistic. Their undifferentiated clamor for freedom against "mindless control" actually gives the urgency of it all a kind of timelessness. (Thanks to the YouTube poster for lining up the lyrics at the right moments.) And for added points they use the word "bailiwick" in the opening song, a slam-worthy number called "Condemned to Freedom."

Feast upon this now:

Don't ignore Side 2, with the must-listens "Push Us In, Push Us Out" and "Open Your Eyes":

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