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After The Evil Powers of Rock‘n’Roll, these Arizonian keepers of the rock‘n’roll flame decided to start up their own label (the aptly-named Mid-Fi Recordings), and to celebrate that joyful event, the label’s firstborn was a reissue of their first recordings (which had been out of print for a long long time) called The Songs All Sound the Same.

Whilst the title isn’t exactly accurate, it's evident the band’s famous blend of Ramones and Hank Williams was already in full effect. The majority of these songs were released as singles and B-sides prior to their debut album The Smoke of Hell (1992), and they sometimes do sound like the product of raw talent, except with some average songs thrown in. They’d get so much better at their fist-pumpin’ blend of punk and Hard Rock a few years down the road.

The band also tackle a few nifty covers. Motörhead’s “Sex and Outrage” certainly isn't a surprise, and the band deliver it with a respectful straightforwardness, whilst the filthy garage punk of The Dead Boys’ “What Love Is” is a winner too. Less expected are a hard-rockin’ cover of Madonna’s “Burnin’ Up” (from her 1983 debut), an infectious if overly long example of their adolescent sense of humor, and the album’s closer, a cover of Nazareth’s “Razamanaz” (here called “Razzmanazz” – just a detail). The latter track not only shows the band’s method isn’t that far removed from classic 1970’s Hard Rock, but what makes it especially memorable is its absurd 21-minute length. You know how musicians come to the end of a song and torture their strings over and over again in unison, letting the drummer freak out, and waiting for his sign to finish? Well, they do that for an insane twenty minutes (turning a 50 minute album into a bit more than half-an-hour of enjoyment). That’s the type of guys the Supersuckers are.

Anyway, the cool thing about this re-release of The Songs All Sound the Same is the bonus stuff. “Luck” and “I Say Fuck” were already included on The Smoke of Hell, but they also added a no-nonsense version of The Flamin’ Groovies’ retro-rocker “Second Cousin”, a song about Jerry Lee Lewis. Spaghetti’s raspy vocals aren’t as much fun as Loney’s original yelp, but it sure beats Sting’s music.

This is by far the most uneven Supersuckers album, and the majority of songs have a rather scruffy sound, but the extra media makes it worth checking out, as this release also contains a bunch of pictures from the early days (Jello Biafra helping them load their gear), as well as a video that shows the guys in action on stage. It's certainly not indispensable, but if you want to witness the band's medieval approach in its early stages, then this stuff won’t disappoint. Even at their most inconsistent, the Suckers are still pretty OK.

by Reviewer: Guy Peters

Posted: Friday 24th Oct 2014 3:15 PM

Listening to this album cold turkey, I wouldn't have guessed it was a soundtrack. I'm sure the film (which I haven't seen) has incidental music done by a professional in that field, but that's not included here. So I don't think of this as a soundtrack album - these are all popsongs.

And this is an excellent pop album, a case too where there's a critical and popular consensus. That's the Way of the World was Earth, Wind & Fire's best-selling album by far (it hit No.1 on the Billboard Pop and R&B charts), and it's also their first album since their self-titled debut that's solid in an artistic sense. Never before had they created such well-crafted songs, all with good melodies. Granted, it isn't as artistically innovative as their debut, but it's certainly tons more innovative than the average Barry White album.

There is so much material in this album! The original release only contained eight songs, the rest on my copy are all bonus tracks. One of those bonus tracks is the full pop version of "Shining Star", the group's only No.1 single. Although the song was certainly well-received when originally released, it also achieved considerable success again in the 1990's, during the 70's revival period. According to Wikipedia this song was more popular in the 90's than in the 70's. It's an excellent Funk tune, with a danceable groove, solid instrument playing, a catchy melody, and a memorable chorus.

I'm going to be a deviant however, and name "Africano" as the best song on the album. The song starts out strangely (which I like), and then turns into an instrumental with a Funk groove that desparately needs to be danced to, an awesome combination of Disco and Jazz-fusion, and the saxophone work is excellent!

Another notable track is "That's the Way of the World", the album's second hit. It didn't do quite as well as the first, only reaching No.12 on the charts - it was the group's second most successful song though.

[Footnote: Don Ignacio's Blog supplements this Review with a bonus track-by-track commentary]

by Reviewer: Don Ignacio

Posted: Friday 24th Oct 2014 4:40 PM