DISGUSTER/HITCHHIKERS SPILT CD - Disguster/Hitchhikers (Zodiac Killer Records)
Chalk up another winner to Zodiac Killer for this inspired pairing of two (slightly related) Los Angeles punk bands. Who says the City of Angels has run dry on rock and roll?

What you're up for here is a roller coaster collection of 16 songs from two bands who share a drummer in Jorge E. Peru. Now, you can stow those drummer jokes for the time being; he obviously wins on the salary front out because he plays on every song.

Apart from sharing the double-dipping drummer, both bands find common ground in playing tightly-wound, trebly rock-punk that's not a million miles removed from the stuff spat out by The Dragons (R.I.P.) and the Riverboat Gamblers. And let's not forget that Hitchhikers host the bass talents of Mitch "Trucker" Cartwright, who was a member of The Humpers. There's a bit of their influence evident.

It's hook-laden and mostly frantic punk with twinges of pop - of which there's no primer example than the opener, Disguster's "Secret Shame". Here's a song that could scrape its way into the playlists of more adventurous mainstream radio if it wasn't about gay beats and gloryholes. The Hitchhikers are more than up to the task of replying with the catchy "I Got Mine." And so the exchange continues...

Listening to this album is like watching a shooting match on "Get Smart": There's a lot of crossfire but no-one gets hurt in the end. Disguster sound a little more wild on account of their vocalist Phil Naked having the sort of voice that cajoles and harangues at the same time. You never forget here's there.

Naked (bet that causes a stir when he's paged) takes the nagging to extremes in "Women" when Disguster layers breakneck, twanging guitars upon each other. Being picked on feels good. Ditto for "Real Doll". "Free Pie", on the other hand, sounds like a square dance in Hell and what's more it's fun.

The Hitchhikers' "Neckbone Stomp" adds organ to expose their garage roots. "Let's Walk" is in the same vein with splashy cymbals and a pliable bassline.

On "No More", Disguster pare it back in similar style to get that garage feel down pat. The Hitchikers' closing shot is a stop-start guitar-burner called "Too Many Days" that leaves ya wantin' more.

All up, this album is more fun that watching a blonde try to arrange a pack of M & Ms in alphabetical order. So who wins the tag team match? For mine, Disguster but only by a half head. This is one satisfying split and I don't mean banana.- The Barman



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