Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School Of Medicine

[30 January 2013]

By John M. Tryneski

As you might guess, Shock-U-Py! is the latest batch of barricade-ready sloganeering from the former Dead Kennedys front man Jello Biafra and his band of old punk hands, the Guantanamo School Of Medicine. Coming over a year after the inception of Occupy Wall Street, the record shares both the righteous anger as well as the unfortunately inchoate political agenda of the movement it honors. The title track aims for Woody Guthrie-esque storytelling and couples it with acoustic guitars and driving post-punk bass. It starts out promisingly but quickly wears out its welcome via didactic lyrics and its seven-and-a-half-minute length. Meanwhile, “Barackstar O’Bummer” has about the same punny-invective-to-thoughtful-perspective ratio as your average Alternet message thread. The final track “We Occupy” is the record’s strongest, with Jello singing behind Vancouver punks D.O.A. in a fun, sprightly singalong number that strikes the right balance between stridency and charm, enabling it to hold up to repeated listenings. Though not necessarily clunkers, the songs on Shock-U-Py! can only ever hope to do one of two things – alienate non-believers or preach to the converted.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/166795-jello-biafra-the-guantanamo-school-of-medicine/