VIOLENT FEMMES Violent Femmes (Rhino)
Mixing new wave attitude, adolescent frustration and zinging acoustic instrumentation, the finest moments of Violent Femmes’ 1983 debut still sound tingly nearly thirty years after the fact. “Blister In The Sun” is all elastic bounce, scary dynamics, barely-controlled angst and glue-sticky melody, “Add It Up”, with its acapella opening, is arrestingly arranged, and “Prove My Love” sublimates all that anguish into something joyous.
It’s such a fresh formula the band can be forgiven for flogging it to death, but really, over the course of an entire album, it’s a bit of a stretch. Vocalist Gordon Gano rather overplays the whining petulance card, especially on songs such as “Confessions” (even the title sets alarm bells ringing!) when he sounds like David Byrne being dragged backwards through puberty.
Whatever its musical, uh, challenges, Rhino have done a commendable job on this vinyl reissue, a vivid-sounding piece of plastic with all the requisite crunch, snap and twang present and correct.