Rock 'n' Roll Riot - Featuring Suckerstarz and Sonicdollz

The press info informs me that Suckerstarz are, in fact, a side project of The High School Mutha Fuckers. I'm glad we got that sorted out to begin with. However, before we get on to the meat and veg. I have to make comment about the sleeve artwork to this album. It rocks and is worth the purchase price on its own, a 50's cinema poster, in the Russ Meyer tradition, depicting a guy in an open topped caddie being attacked with a wrench by a biker. It leaves nothing to the imagination.

This is essentially an album made by two bands although several personnel appear in both. You can't help thinking these guys want to over complicate things or simply can't decide which band is the best.

Suckerstarz have an identity crisis the size of Texas and their half dozen cuts just don't seem to know what, or indeed who, they want to be. The opening track 'You gotta Know', once more comes over as some limp dick impression of Green Day. What is it with Green Day these days? Are they the only punk band on the planet? No they are not, so why does everyone use them as the template? It's getting tiresome. 'Hifi Action' follows it up with more than a little homage to The Dictators and the Dead Boys. It's a whole lot more promising and immediately redeems a very dodgy opener and 'Sick 76' is the diamond cut and shows without any shadow of a doubt that they can draw on influence and channel it into a great fresh sound.

Side Two/Band two.
Sonicdollz.

Blondie Suckerstarz has obviously spent 15 minutes in the studio broom cupboard. He went in there dressed like Zakk Wylde going to a fancy dress party as Mike Monroe and has now emerged in an altogether more convincing guise. The Sonicdollz have their act, and their sound, in far better shape. This is Link Wray, The Cramps, The Misfits, yet it's not quite. It's far too routed in good pop songs to be purely camp garage. Once again, the Hanoi vibe is in there but this time is more cemented in the overall rock and roll 'a rama of the whole sound.

It opens with 'Broken', a gem of a song with a chorus that will annoy you for days. It's great! 'Ball and Chain' is a hit waiting to happen and, like the rest of the tracks, has a chorus big enough to slice a bit off and lend some to the Suckerstarz and 'Backseat Love' (to name another) is a return to dynamite form. Lush harmonies all wrapped up in the kind of 50's rock and roll shang-alang so beloved of the Ramones.

Suckerstarz are not awful, they're just not good. Blondie should realise his limitations and make up his mind what he is doing. He is obviously a serious talent and maybe a potential star. He should forget High School Mutha Fuckers and forget Suckerstarz. Sonicdollz have a serious potential here. They look the part and, more importantly, have great songs. I'd buy this for the seven Sonicdollz tracks and forget about the rest. Sometimes you can feel justified in buying an album for only a couple of great cuts. In this case you can be content with seven.

by Alex Carling

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