DEAD KENNEDYS Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (Manifesto)
A second wave American punk band, the Dead Kennedys supplemented the Sex Pistols’ no future nihilism (still apparent on this 1980 debut on tracks such as “Forward To Death”) with viciously sharp socio-political satire that made the likes of The Clash and Frank Zappa seem equivocal in comparison.
Perhaps with the exception of top 40 hit “Too Drunk To Fuck”, a bonus track on some pressings but not, sadly, mine, everything you really need to hear by the Dead Kennedys is present and correct here. There’s the alternate political future envisioned by “California Über Alles”, later covered by The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy, and the liberal-skewering “Holiday In Cambodia”, alongside lesser-celebrated classics such as “Kill The Poor” and “Let’s Lynch The Landlord”. Also noteworthy is a chemically altered cover of “Viva Las Vegas” (unless Elvis really sings “Got coke up my nose to dry away the snot”) recast as a takedown of American consumerism.
“Re-mastered from Original Studio Tapes” it may be, but the current vinyl reissue of “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables” is still a clangourous tinnitus buzz almost entirely devoid of low frequencies. It does, however, feature a huge poster collage-cum-lyric sheet that’s an invaluable aid in both deciphering and providing additional context to Jello Biafra’s high speed rants.