There’s always room for Jello. Biafra that is. It may be up to debate, but I think its pretty fair to say that the Dead Kennedys are the American punk band (as opposed to say The Sex Pistols or The Clash). They may not be the best, but they definitely burned the brightest.
It’s also a pretty fair estimate to say that Ministry is the seminal industrial rock band of all time. You might be a purist who thinks that Throbbing Gristle should get this acclaim, or maybe Big Black, but for sheer commercial power alone, Al Jourgenson’s efforts have maintained a steady fan base and a steady intensity.
Lard brings these two not-so-disparate elements, plus some other Chicago-scene members of Revolting Cocks, together into a punk/industrial supergroup, similar to Pigface. ‘70s Rock Must Die is the fourth product to come from the Lard project, which combines Biafra’s witty, biting lyrics and “singing” style with Jourgenson and company’s hard driving guitar rock. It is, however, only an EP, which will probably disappoint long-time fans who want to get something new to throw in their hundred disc changers.
The title track is obviously the reason the CD was released. Too funny and topical not to be put into print somewhere, it’s easier to think of this disc as a maxi-single with a couple of B-sides thrown on. ‘70s Rock Must Die combines all the cliches of Led Zepplin and KISS that you’d hear on any given classic rock station into what must have been torture for speed-metal players like Jourgenson and Barker. But the result is a song that would fit on those same classic rock stations seamlessly, unless you listened to the lyrics. Biafra basically rips apart everything about ‘70s nostalgia, while at the same time managing to throw in some requisite tongue-in-cheek “Everybody put your hands together!” calls. There’s even some Robert Plant-esque wails.
The other two tracks are more what you’d expect from Lard. “Volcanus 2000 (We Wipe The World)” is a straight-up industrial, steady beat and heavy guitar track concerned with the burying of the world in consumer garbage. It even features some of the scary statistics that Biafra is particularly known for. “Ballad of Marshall Ledbetter” could pass as a Dead Kennedy’s tune, with its socio-political commentary on an individual who holds a capitol building siege to have his voice heard, but it’s not likely to spark a whole lot of interest unless this is absolutely your musical taste.
Weighing in at 18 minutes for three songs, it’s hard to justify this disc as a purchase, but hopefully it’s an indicator that Lard will have something bigger and longer on the way for 2000.
// Notes from the Road
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