Action Swingers - Decimation Blvd. (Cover Artwork)

Action Swingers

Decimation Blvd. (1993)

Caroline Records

It’s not cool to be a bully these days. With anti-bullying campaigns plastered all over the media, the once staple character that could be found in each schoolyard or neighborhood park is now in danger of becoming extinct. While this is probably for the best, don’t the few bullies left need a soundtrack of their own? Decimation Blvd. by New York punk minimalists the Action Swingers brings a dark, vacant, mean burst of speedy riffs that could transform the nicest kid on the block into a local terror.

The listener will immediately love or hate this album that features 14 songs hammered out in 21 minutes. It’s fast, furious and searing with pure anger. The songs are simple; think “Loudmouth” by the Ramones played at triple-time. The production features a heavy layering of additional guitar tracks in the mix, which makes it seem as if 12 Marshall cabinets are blasting all at once. However, while I find an overload of rhythm guitar to be enjoyable, I’ll admit this technique pretty much drowns out the bass lines altogether. The lyrical content is likely not up everyone’s alley either as each song is negative, mean and nasty: “Better get off my back, beat you with a baseball bat, ‘cause… You better keep your big mouth shut!” If you’re having a bad day and throw this record on then you will only feel worse. The New York Times described what’s going on with the Action Swingers as "Punk without pretenses. Brutally elemental and patently obnoxious." I could not agree more.

Decimation Blvd. is a bully. It pushes you to the ground and steals your lunch money. If you can’t handle the odd scuffle, then take your ears elsewhere. This lost gem deserves its place atop the monkey bars, even if it gets sent to detention for throwing everyone else off.