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U.S. Bombs: Covert Action

Daniel Mitchell

U.S. Bombs

Covert Action

Label: Hellcat
US Release Date: 2003-03-11
UK Release Date: Available as import

Picture this: spikey haircuts, angry scowls, one guy wearing chains, another dressed in a suit (with curious Rod Stewart style haircut), tattoos galore, and the British sign for "F- You!" You'd probably guess that you're messing with some pretty "punk" persons. Now, add this to your mental picture: all of these "punks" are pushing 40. Such is the very angry and extraordinarily "punk" U.S. Bombs. I'd like to quote lead vocalist, Duane Peters: "I don't give two f***'s what anybody thinks; we're real punk rockers." That's taken directly from their press sheet. Yikes.

So anyway, seven Ramones rip-offs and seven Rancid thefts later, I'm sitting alone with this "punk" U.S. Bombs CD, wondering how these guys can look themselves in the mirror without busting out into hysterical laughter. I'm sorry, but Covert Action is some of the worst, second rate gutter punk stuff I've heard in my entire life. Someone needs to tell me what's so "punk" about playing the same three guitar chords, over and over, and doing a laughable job at making their voices sound intimidating. Come on! If you've heard Fear, take them on their absolute worst day and multiply it by twenty and you'd have an idea of the basic state of affairs here.

So, what positive things can be said about Covert Action? Well, from time to time the lead singer kind of sounds like Lemmy from Motorhead, and Lemmy rules. The recording quality of this record is top notch, which is something rarely seen from bands of this genre. They usually try to make it sound all dirty and DIY, because that supposedly makes it more "punk". Kudos to U.S. Bombs for looking past that idiotic notion. The guitars are pretty kick butt here, as well; they kind of dance the fine line between being distorted and overdriven, which makes for a nice, warm tone. The track "The Gow" kicks some pretty major buttocks, as well; it's kind of got a reggae feel to it, which provides a nice break from the gutter punk monotony. As I stated before, though, the poop far outweighs the positive on this one.

I guess I should feel bad for slagging this band, as Duane Peters is kind of like a punk/skate legend who runs his own label (Disaster Records). I really don't feel bad, though, because this music is just too crappy. I'm 26, and I'd feel like such a jackass if I tried to appear "punk", in the 1977 sense of the word. Who are these guys trying to kid? Crap, the music here is so outdated and stale! Why beat a dead horse like this? I just can't figure out the attraction. I teach 8th grade, and one of my kids (the one "punk" in my homeroom) was like "U.S. Bombs? Those guys are awesome!" "The kids" appear to like it, so I guess it might just be me, but this stuff just doesn't make any sense. Gutter punk stuff like this is supposed to be for angry teenagers who haven't learned how to play their instruments yet. The old geezers in U.S. Bombs have no excuse for making a record as pointless as Covert Action.

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