Supersuckers / Electric Frankenstein
The split CD has become a staple of the modern indie band’s diet, as requisite as label-hopping, playing “secret” shows and bitching about bass players. New Jersey’s prolific Electric Frankenstein and Seattle-by-way-of-Tuscon punks the Supersuckers, the groups paired on Splitsville Vol. 1, have much in common: Both were formed in the mid-’90s and have spent the past several years building considerable underground followings. Furthermore, both acts have shrugged off most of their early punk influences in favor of whiskey-soaked sleaze rock aimed straight for the crotch. Call it When Good Punks Go Metal.
The ‘Suckers tear through the first four numbers with don’t-give-a-shit abandon, and tracks such as the deceptively melodic “Devils Food” get better with each listen. Turning this raucous noisemaking on its ear, the group’s interest in country rears its head on a rootsabilly rendition of Electric Frankenstein’s anthem “Teenage Shutdown.” This musical matchmaking comes full circle with the inclusion of “She’s My Bitch,” a ‘Suckers classic covered with less success by EF. Sing me a love song, and I’ll show you to the fuckin’ door, EF frontman Steve Miller growls on “Sweet Baby Ignorance.” It’s a great line, just one of many found buried in his group’s musical stew. But EF’s biggest problem is that it can’t decide whether it wants to be Black Flag or Black Sabbath, dividing the difference to little satisfaction. Though EF extols substance abuse, there’s little actual substance in its five-song contribution. The ‘Suckers win this boisterous grime-rock battle hands down.