Auntie Christ - Life Could Be a Dream (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Auntie Christ

Life Could Be a Dream (1997)

Lookout Records

I love Rancid, I love X and I love the first band to combine members of both groups, Auntie Christ. The group's origins couldn't be simpler: X frontwoman Exene Cervenka asked Rancid bassist Matt Freeman if he wanted to start a new punk band with her. X drummer D.J. Bonebrake completed the trio. The group's sole release, Life Could Be a Dream, should have been an instant hit with the punk community.

And yet, for whatever reason, Life feels forgotten in the years since its release. It's no surprise that X and Rancid's accomplishments overshadow it. Granted, Auntie Christ was a much more traditional punk band compared to the members' main gigs, but that such a profile "supergroup" could warrant less than 9,000 plays on is dispiriting. These songs are fills-free '77 punk rock, and gloriously so. Sure, Freeman doesn't get to show off much, but Cervenka's vision for the group, as back-to-basics punk, is a pure one.

It's also a short one. Life delivers 10 tracks in about 25 minutes (although, curiously, it offers the entire album up again as an uncut hidden track. I have no idea why). The songs are appropriately stripped down to the bare essentials--couple of verses, couple of choruses, no solos. Freeman and Bonebrake play their parts well, but it's Cervenka who shines. Her guitar work is raw and dissonant, as if she's dismembering every chord.

The lyrics, of course, are top notch. Cervenka espouses nihilism here. It doesn't get any more direct than "I Don't," in which she chirps "I don't think anyone's coming to save you." It's not the darkest Cervenka has ever gotten--"Johnny Hit and Run Paulene" instantly comes to mind--but it gets points for frankness. Same goes for tunes like "Bad Trip," "The Nothing Generation" and my personal favorite, "The Future is a War." It's all there in the titles.

Although Life Could Be a Dream doesn't top, say, Wild Gift or …And Out Come the Wolves, it's a welcome addition to the songwriters' collective discography. The songs are primal, just as Cervenka intended. While the band never followed through with another full-length, Freeman and Bonebrake went on to play together in Devils Brigade, another curiosity fans should investigate.