Circle Jerks - Group Sex - Review
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critics' view

Clocking in at an anemic fifteen minutes and forty seconds, the Circle Jerks' fourteen song debut album remains one of the most influential hardcore punk records ever recorded. Although vocalist Keith Morris (formerly of Black Flag) and guitarist Greg Hetson (ex-Redd Kross, current Bad Religion) may have more recognizable names and more famous bodies of work, it is Lucky Lehrer's frenetic jazz-tinged drumming that seems to drive Group Sex. That said, Keith Morris, whose drugged-out vocals alternate between constrained fury and bursts of outright frenzy (the bipolarity of which is perhaps best heard on "I Just Want Some Skank"), somehow manages to keep up with Lehrer's pounding and delivers almost as impressive a performance. The album also features two songs originally written for and recorded by Black Flag: "Wasted" and "Don't Care."

Highlights: Track 1. "Deny Everything." Twenty-eight seconds of the sort of paranoia-tinged ranting Keith Morris brought with him from Black Flag shouted over an impenetrable wall of sound. You really can't ask for much more. Track 2. "I Just Want Some Skank." Remember Howard Dean's scream? Speed it up, make it sound even more insane, and add drums and guitar and you've got "I Just Want Some Skank." Track 3. "Beverly Hills." Roger Rogerson's bassline manages to convey a sense of impending disaster without crossing the line into outright fury. Keith Morris crosses it. Track 8. "World Up My Ass." This is about as snotty as hardcore can get. Play it loud.

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