HERE'S TO YOUR FUCK - The Exploding Fucks Dolls (DHD)
These Californian punks - twin bro's Art and Steve Godoys the only constants - come highly recommended from no less a source than Radio Birdman's Deniz Tek, who sporadically plays US shows with the pair as his bandmates. That's a good but not solitary reason for I-94 Bar patrons to sit up and take notice.

The EFDs (not prudish, it's just easier to type) purvey a brand of punk rock that's ragged but, for the most part, instantly likeable. I thought I'd outgrown the Pommy punk of my callow youth but it started flooding back, listening to this.

Speaking of first impressions and, fuck me guv'nor, don't the git up front sound like bloomin' Joe Strummer! His name is Kris Swanson and he sings on three of the opening four cuts ("Action reaction" is an instro) on a career retrospective that dips into the output of four different line-ups, spanning 1991-98. The vocal similarity to the Clash man, down to the phrasing, is stunning, but these Dolls are no lame 1978 revival act.

Back to the beginning and the EFDs grew out of the Orange County punk scene of the early '90s. You can read the full story here, but suffice to say that this material is a lot less well mannered than the stuff that's since been spawned by SoCal (Southern California, in case you want to read it in English). Duane Peters was an early singer (he appears on a quartet of tracks) and still runs around with the Hunns, who are Disaster Records pets. He sang on the collectable, Pistols-like "City Action" single, issued here for the first time in digital format.

Interesting to hear the first incarnation of the EFDs run through the chiming "Let's Go" on a live cut, that song having made it to the most recent Deniz Tek & the Golden Breed album, "Glass Eye World", on which the Godoys played. It and a handful of other tracks show a surf undercurrent was in their blood before they hooked up with the Birdman.

For the most part, though, there's a strong Brit punk streak running through most of the EFD stuff. Vocally, much of it is delivered in stand-up-and-spit-it-out style, but the energy quotient usually manages to blunten any rough edges.

You have to give props to the twins for Steve's strong-arm drumming and some, um, Artful guitar sounds (bass being his choice of musical instrument when backing the Iceman but it's six-strings all the way with the EFDs). If the fact that the twins were professional skateboarders scares you, don't let it. This is fairly well removed from the sanitised skatepunk that's managed to seep into the kiddies' musical consciousness of late.

Of course, no band with a name as unmarketable as Exploding Fuck Dolls could enjoy all the fruits of success without a string of less than committed/fucked up bandmates souring some of the potential. To add insult to injury, it was just as big labels were sniffing around. That's why the closing song, "Ends This Way", rings with a touch of irony, but there's a happy ending. The Exploding Dolls are still around with another line-up, being the twins, Joe, sorry Kris Swanson, and second guitarist Jim "Charlie" Rogers. - The Barman

Available from DHD at PO Box 30064, Long Beach CA 90803