UGLY ON THE OUTSIDE - The Candy Snatchers (Roulette's Records)
Have to admit that although this Virginia, USA, band had been around since 1992, I'd heard more ABOUT the Candy Snatchers than their actual output when they bobbed up on No Mango's "Flattery" Radio Birdman tribute discs five years ago. Their take on "Murder City Nights" showed enough irreverence, divergence form the original and hi-octane punk rawk attitude to score well on the I-94 Bar Rockactionmeter.

And so to this 14-track compilation of hard-to-find, unruly, paint-stripping party-starters on Dutch label Roulette's Records. Their seventh long-player, it's a collection of singles and as such, sonic quality varies considerably from track to track. In fact, I'd have to say it's on of the most piss-poor jobs of vinyl transfers, unless you're into the authenticity of actual pops and crackles. Then again, I'm presuming the only place you'd find these tunes would be in some discerning punk's personal collection. It's also unlikely the master tapes exist, given that the Candy Snatchers were unlucky enough to have the tapes of one of their first albums stolen from a studio after they sent 'em back for a re-mix (!) The same sense of barely-controlled chaos is what makes "Ugly On The Outside" such an appealingly appalling package.

Defiantly lo-fi, The Candy Snatchers are The Dwarves with most of their clothes on (the album only last fractionally longer than one of that band's shows). Elements of latter-day Stooges and The Dickies pervade. It's a roughshod, in-your-face ride. You ever mixed the metallic taste of your own blood with frothy, warm beer? Something tells me it's vocalist Larry May's favourite tipple (rinsed down with a Drain-O mouthwash, of course). Is this the first album cover not to feature him bleeding profusely from a head cut?

If you want to know what this sounds like, think of 14 little explosions of jagged guitar and drums with a modicum of polish and a dollop of defiance. May's vocals peel paint. With titles like "She Sure Can Blow", "Moronic Pleasures", "Party Girl/Cocaine County" and "Dirty Thang" you don't expect hymns. It's rocking punk rather than straight-up punk rock. And the Vacuous Chameleon's "Suffragette City" never sounded so good until it got a goosing from these guys.

Hey ya candy ass - snatch some of this today.
– The Barman