Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bargain Basement Treasures

Drive Like Jehu
Yank Crime
Interscope, 1994

I came across Yank Crimes in a bargain rack for 4.95 around 1995. A friend of mine had told me that it was good, so i figured i could spare a five-spot to check it out. Little did i know that it is one of the classic post-punk albums, and one of the best albums to come out of the nineties.

For those who don't know, Drive Like Jehu was a band with Rick Froberg and John Reiss, the latter who would have fame with Rocket From the Crypt. Yank Crime was Jehu's second album, and it is a doozy from start to finish. The band was two guitars, bass and drums, but they sound a lot louder than that. Froberg voice contains the perfect managed hysteria of an insurance salesman about to have a nervous breakdown, equal parts nerdy and unsettled. Henry Rollins may do angry dude better, but no one can do angry everyman like Froberg.

The songs are long and intricate. Jehu truly are math rock, but in a good way. The disc starts off with the barrelling guitars of "Here Come the Rome Plows" with Froberg shouting "Sad to say/it's over come the rome plows!!"

Most of the songs feature long intros - the delecate notes of "New Math", the forty seconds of squealing feedback on "Super Unison", and my personal favorite, the staccato algorythms of "Sinews". Lyrically, the disc is vague but menacing. On "Sinews", Froberg screams "yeah, you been had!" and you don't necessarily know what he's talking about but it creeps you out the same.

Emo and post punk has devolved to a point where it is largely just a bunch of lame fucks whining over bad rock. They should all take a lesson from Jehu, who bring the pain, bring the rock, and make it all sound good and interesting. Viva la Jehu!

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