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Spermbirds - Something to Prove / Nothing Is Easy (Cover Artwork)

Spermbirds

Spermbirds: Something to Prove / Nothing Is EasySomething to Prove / Nothing Is Easy (2006)
Rookie / Boss Tuneage

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: feeeding5000feeeding5000
(others by this writer | submit your own)

In punk rock, there are many bands with guiding ideologies, beliefs that define for them what "punk" is. The Spermbirds are not one of those bands. The Spermbirds are a typical snotty, reasonably melodic skatepunk band. Their biggest standout feature is that they formed in West Germany in the early-.
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In punk rock, there are many bands with guiding ideologies, beliefs that define for them what "punk" is. The Spermbirds are not one of those bands. The Spermbirds are a typical snotty, reasonably melodic skatepunk band. Their biggest standout feature is that they formed in West Germany in the early-to-mid `80s. This CD, recently issued through Boss Tuneage's "Retro Series," includes their first two full-lengths, Something to Prove and Nothing Is Easy, and adds a few bonus tracks at the end for shits and giggles.

Right off the bat, you can tell that this is very SoCal-esque; Something has an Agent Orange cover, while Nothing has a cover of the Angry Samoans. The guitar switches between basic early hardcore chord changes and some nice melodic lead guitar lines, but doesn't really innovate. The vocalist, I believe, was an American G.I., so all of the lyrics are in English, and lack that annoying "look at me, I can legally drink beer and look at pornography at the age of thirteen!" accent.

The thing that bothers me most about this first album is the lyrics (this ties in with the lack of ideology, see). One minute, on "You're Not a Punk," they claim that people who skateboard shouldn't try to be punk, but then contradict themselves with "My God Rides a Skateboard," a song that is notable because it contains the most feeble attempt at rapping ever. The only statement they seem to make definitively is, "girls suck." The album is filled with the kind of casual sexism that has no place in punk. Tracks like "What a Bitch Is," "Bed Tool," and "Playboy Subscriber" ("I'm gonna come, come, come all over your face") make me, well, a little uneasy. It's not done tongue-in-cheek, and it sounds more like the kind of talk that was going on in the crappy metal that I'm sure all of the other German kids were listening to.

Nothing Is Easy is an improvement over the first album. The melodies are catchier, and the hardcore parts, especially on the opener "Die Sgt. Landry," are faster and harder. The lyrics are a little more "emo," a little more personal, and they've left most of the machismo at home. The title track is a little creepily conservative, in the "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" sense, but it's not like punk bands haven't preached self-reliance before.

The packaging for this reissue is pretty good, a glossy digi-pak with Cerebus the Aardvark's face staring right at you. While most of the lyrics are included, there are no liner notes, and the album art for the second album is not included. If you like your Adolescents, your TSOL, and whatnot, then check the Spermbirds out. It's not exactly my thing, but hey, they might be yours.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
KickMeOut (July 17, 2009)

I was stationed at Ramstein AFB Germany when I heard the Sperbirds. There was a rumor that the singer was in the Army (USA) and was getting kicked out so he split and stayed in germany, yes AWOL. I was there from '87-91. Just 18 yrs old when I got there and there are/were cool places to skate, an Indoor place called Tropica where I met Yo-Yo Schultz. ANYWAY, the spermbirds were fast and fun, when the broke up they split into another band called Walter Elf which featured a NOOB on trumpet. Just tooooo funny watching them play the FLASH in Kaiserslautern. There were punks in K-Town..Annabella Hause was a brother until the4 Berlin wall came down, then it was turned into a refugee house, the locals were pisssssed!
Where the heck is my friend Laurent Hees from PKRK, Skaferlatine, etc... Metz, France...You must remember I am a real beer drinker he would say. Back then, the skaters( like me) thought the "punk" style was too much, we were skaters who listened to punk. be defined by what you do, not what you wear. I am from Ventura Ca, most of the good places to skate are long gone. Tea cups Santa barbara, Del Mar skate ranch Sandiego....They are building a skate park in Ojai, California....gotta go

eyeslikebombs (January 22, 2007)

The combination of this band's name and album cover makes me never want to listen to this CD.

I mean, seriously.

Anonymous (January 21, 2007)

Brilliant band with some great punk fun songs - live they are even better - hell they're the band that made me pick up my guitar again.

Anonymous (January 19, 2007)

This feeeding5000 dude is a fucking idiot!!! Why do they get "kids" to review albums???? If he knew anyting about music from "the day" he would remember the shit Fear, Angry Samoans, the Meatmen etc etc used to sing about it's a joke asshole lighten up you pc conservative jackass!!!

lushj (January 19, 2007)

If you don't want context, fine, but a lot of stuff (not this record) lives or dies based on its context.

Pick an early generic oi band or fast hardcore band. Does their music stand up over time or is their only attraction in 2007 that they were around "back in the day"? (it depends on the band, obviously, but I bet you can pick out bands you love from then who, if stripped of their context, are nothing special)

blake88 (January 18, 2007)

spermbirds? this should have been on that worst band names list for sure

Anonymous (January 17, 2007)

Some of us don't care about context of if we're supposed to respect these guys or not, and just want to know how the music is.

This review did a great job of that. I'm glad there wasn't any rose-coloured glasses on for it.

lushj (January 16, 2007)

Ha ha, it doesn't irk me, but it's still a little unnatural to say 'batcast' instead of 'podcast.' That said, I'm kind of staccato on the radio anyway...

feeeding5000 (January 16, 2007)

And Jesse, thanks for the reassurance. By the way, does it irk you having to constantly say, "Batcast", because occasionally you'll pause right before, as if you have to remember not to say "podcast". Also, is it odd having fans analyze your speaking on some label promo thingy, or is that all part of being a "punk singer"?

feeeding5000 (January 16, 2007)

I didn't mean "emo" as having anything to do with actual emo music. I meant "emo" like how...DC hardcore was less about politics and more about interpersonal relationships. That kinda deal.

Anonymous (January 16, 2007)

this is a joke. you're using the word 'emo' to describe the spermbirds? I realise the context it was in, as in a 'little more emo', but that is just stupid.

and as for...
"basic early hardcore chord changes and some nice melodic lead guitar lines, but doesnâ??t really innovate"

you're on crack, the guitars are amazing for their time.

jacobe (January 16, 2007)

fuck Dave Sim.

Lost all respect for him after the whole Jeff Smith thing.

lushj (January 16, 2007)

Mr. Feeding:
Don't take it personally. Besides the context thing, I think your review's fine. I mean, sure I disagree with it, but it's a review and your opinion.

sceneupdates (January 16, 2007)

Saw these guys live in South Africa, good show!

feeeding5000 (January 16, 2007)

Oh, wow, so much better
http://www.deadmetaphor.com/?p=411

feeeding5000 (January 16, 2007)

And what, exactly, is so terrible about the review, besides the lack of context? Okay, next time I'll do some research. You have to admit, though, me reviewing this, an ooverlooked album with historical and international significance, is more than most of the other messageboard jockeys would do. I'm real bent outta shape about this. Damn!

feeeding5000 (January 16, 2007)

Alright! Jesus, sorry for ignoring context and whatnot, but I reviewed this based solely on what I heard. I'm sorry that I don't know, but cut me some slack. Was this album really important to the German punk scene? I mean, I wouldn't give it 10/10 in any case, but if it's that important, bump it up to a seven, or an eight. Whatever.

lushj (January 16, 2007)

Yeah, this record is a stone cold classic. Well, at least "Something To Prove" is. These guys are European punk legends led by a US GI, Lee, who went AWOL in the 80s and that's why they never toured the US, only the rest of the world (or at least that's what I heard way back when, who knows if that AWOL part is true?).

Don't worry, the lyrics made people cringe then, but so did the Descendents "I'm Not A Loser" or half a dozen other bands from those years.

Their later stuff veered into more metal/rock stuff, still with a lot of heart. It never grabbed me anywhere near this 1st record, but I bet there's a lot more kids around now who would appreciate it then there were 20 years ago...

I've heard their latest record "Set An Example" (2004) and it's a return to the energy and fire of this first one. Unfortunately, it's not released domestically (yet!) and really expensive to mail order. Hint, hint.

P.S.- Is there some way to distribute the re-releases to reviewers who have at least an idea of a band's history & context? They don't have to slobber all over it, but at least show that they've heard of the band and know a little something about 'em.

skankin_in_the_pit (January 16, 2007)

Good band, not so good review. I'm sure you can probably find better ones at deepfrybonanza or deadmetaphor.com if anyone cares. Anyone know if the reissue of their third album, "Common Thread", is worth picking up? I figure it's the usual crappy 90s album from classic 80s band.

jacktheskipper (January 16, 2007)

The reviewer really needs to do some research the next time, god-awful review ... sorry ...

Anonymous (January 16, 2007)

You people are idiots. Wh the prejudice against Germany? If you took the time to do any research instead of just vomiting up stale cliches, you'd realize that the Spermbirds are one of the most important German punk bands ever. Of course, what should I have expected from the 20-year-old-been-there-heard-it-all dipshit that pass for your typical .org reviewers these days.

Anonymous (January 16, 2007)

Why didn't this band make that Onion list?

Anonymous (January 16, 2007)

Also, I have a feeling Dave Sim's sexism probably has a lot to do with why they slapped his character on their record... But the thing is, Cerebus' sexism was a lot more based on philosophy than "girls are my cumbags and nothing more." I'm only calling the comic sexist because so many people claim it is. I don't really think Dave Sim is sexist. He is just annoyed with a lot of liberal movements...

-Will

Anonymous (January 16, 2007)

WHOA WHOA WHOA Hold the phone, motherfuckers.

NO bands are worthy of brandishing a picture of Dave Sim's Cerebus on the front of their record...

-Will

Ollywood (January 16, 2007)

first

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