THE MANGES 'R' GOOD ENOUGH - The Manges (Stardumb Records)

It wouldn't be unkind to suggest the Manges are suffering some kind of identity crisis. Despite being and bred on the west coast of Italy, they've somehow decided Joey, Marky and Dee Dee are much better names than what they were Christened with.

Even more than labelmates the Peewees, these guys have decided the best way to play rock is to just take every Ramones album, throw them in a blender, and drink what comes out.
An over exaggeration? Try this.

The CD cover art has no less than six photos of the Ramones or Ramones paraphenalia scattered through the liner notes, the band itself poses in striped T-shirts, ripped jeans, gym shoes and leather jackets for their picture, there's a Ramones plectrum in pride of place on the back cover.

Listen close and you'll catch a "1! 2! 3!" between tracks four and five, the guitar sound has definite Ramones tones... and so on.

Track one, for example, "I'm a Monkey", includes the line: "I'm a monkey, I wanna live in the White House..." more than a passing nod to "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg?"

Which boils down to one thing - if you're a fan of the sound, then step right up, you'll enjoy this.

This is fast, wall-of-sound tunes with few refinements, but a hell of a lot of fun. Tracks such as "I Hate Rats", remind us that somewhere out there there's still some leftover Nazi punks to be made fun of, "Rumble In Chinatown" is an English punk-sounding story of what passes for drunken love while "80's Soldier" is there to let us know even in Italy there's a few people left who stopped buying records when the 1990s started.

Throw in what has to be one of the strangest covers in years, Cyndi Lauper's "Goonies R Good Enough" and you've got a surprisingly solid package from a very unexpected quarter. - Scott Ellis