Thursday, June 21, 2012

Germs: "(GI)" (1979/2012 re-issue) CD Review

The Germs' full-length album, (GI), is now back in print, thanks to the folks at Real Gone Music. The energy captured on these recordings is incredible.  I've never been into slamdancing (I think it's kind of retarded, and I don't want anyone banging into me), but I get it while listening to this. I want to throw my body around, hurl myself into objects, just to Feel as much as possible. You know?

Like a lot of punk tunes, these songs are short. In and out, say what you need to say, no screwing around. Most of the songs are less than two and a half minutes. In fact, the opening track is less than a minute, and "American Leather" is just over a minute long. 

Produced by Joan Jett (in that time between The Runaways and the start of her solo career), (GI) is the band's only full-length album. Lead singer Darby Crash died the following year (on December 7, the day before John Lennon was killed).  Guitarist Pat Smear would go on to play in bands like Nirvana and Foo Fighters.

This special re-issue includes one bonus track.  And hey, the lyrics are included in the packaging, which is great.

"What We Do Is Secret"

The album opens with "What We Do Is Secret," a short explosive tune. There is no easing into this album; they bare themselves right away. "Dementia of a higher order/What we do is secret, secret."  "What We Do Is Secret" is the shortest song on the album, at only forty-four seconds.

"Land Of Treason"

I love the angry, snarling way that Darby sings "Land Of Treason."  It works perfectly with lines like "We're packs of dogs - we're enemies of men - we are not desired."  This is the perfect song to turn up if you're angry with the world, and want to get all your energy out in a short, violent burst.  Dance around your apartment, after moving any glass objects to a safe place.  After two minutes you'll be feeling better, or at least exhausted.

"Lexicon Devil"

"Lexicon Devil" is my favorite track from this album. The vocals are excellent, particularly the quirky, singular delivery of the last line of the chorus - "Gimme gimme this, gimme gimme that, yeah, yeah, yeah" -  just fantastic.  Truly.

"Lexicon Devil" was also the title track for the band's 1978 three-song EP.


Okay, did the creators of that short-lived television series get the idea from this song?  Darby drags out the chorus like an angry, wounded animal. "I was never quite tamed" - no shit. And the howling near the end is perfect.

"We Must Bleed"

"We Must Bleed" is more than three minutes, and it's weird, because it's a minute too long. These guys really are best when they keep it at around two minutes (with one huge exception). The last minute feels unnecessary.

"The Other Newest One"

"The Other Newest One" is a weird sort of punk love song with some damn good lyrics. I dig lines like "You send my dreams to their demise" and "I take your hair into my hands/I pull it tight to fill your demands/I feed my body into yours."  She's not his first, she won't be his last.  There are no illusions about the longevity of this relationship.  We know what it's about when he sings, "Embacing my life between your thighs."  I can't help but love this song.

"Shut Down (Annihilation Man)"

After all those incredibly short tunes, "Shut Down (Annihilation Man) comes as a total surprise. It's an epic song, at nearly ten minutes. That's like five or six of their regular songs.  "Shut Down" is a slower, creepier tune (in the same realm as Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You" and some of the wilder Doors stuff - it has that same hypnotizing power or effect).  This one features some pretty wild work on guitar. By the way, only a few of the lines are included in the album's lyrics.

Bonus Track

The CD's sole bonus track, "Caught In My Eye," is actually the album's least interesting track, especially following "Shut Down," which is bloody glorious.

CD Track List
  1. What We Do Is Secret
  2. Communist Eyes
  3. Land Of Treason
  4. Richie Dagger's Crime
  5. Strange Notes
  6. American Leather
  7. Lexicon Devil
  8. Manimal
  9. Our Way
  10. We Must Bleed
  11. Media Blitz
  12. The Other Newest One
  13. Let's Pretend
  14. Dragon Lady
  15. The Slave
  16. Shut Down
  17. Caught In My Eye

Germs are Darby Crash on vocals, Pat Smear on guitar, Lorna Doom on bass, and Don Bolles on drums.

(GI) was originally released in 1979 on Slash Records. This special re-issue was released June 5, 2012 through Real Gone Music.

No comments:

Post a Comment