A summer or three ago, I happened upon one of the Juveniles' initial shows at The Badlander. The crowd was sparse. Things were not going well. "Mistakes were made." I distinctly remember guitarist Dave Parsons asking for the audience to stop clapping.
That said, the band's latest incarnation performs with verve and vigor. The sound is pure '80s four-on-the-floor punk rockitude and the hooks they are a-plenty.
The album is a live affair. Misplaced notes appear here and there, alongside squeaks, pops and vocals that are on the verge of busting a gullet. The first track, "Hedge Your Bets," is all you need to hear before you decide whether to go further. A big sloppy open-mouth kiss from a dirty bass introduces the tune, and the drums start driving like a pumping pogo stick. Breathlessly slung back and forth, the song is nearly all chorus, sounding like a tantrum. The highlights arrive on the album's final three originals, as legitimate adult anger and frustration erupt in "My Damnation" and "Your Rebellion," while "Manscape!" provides a bit of comic relief (who hasn't shaved a Flying V into their back hair?). The sound is traditionally agro punk, all raw, but it cooks.
Juveniles wrap-up their month-long residency at the VFW on Thu., Jan. 26, at 10 PM with a re-united VTO and Cat Heaven. Free.