Cheap Sex - Launch Off To War (Cover Artwork)

Cheap Sex

Launch Off To War (2003)

Punk Core

I'm sick of people whining about streetpunk bands – "they're just copying what's been done already," "streetpunk is dead" – get with it; this genre is not dead, and is still very much relevant. Yeah, maybe the bands of the ‘90s and ‘00s sing about the same topics that the originators of the genre did back in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, but look, they have to! Society is STILL dealing with the same problems. Sadly, not much has changed since then, and if bands want to expose these injustices, ever-growing encroachments on freedom, and the horrid state of the world today, then let ‘em! Please, don't even start about how "stupid" these bands' lyrics or sound is. Come on! At least they're not whining about how their girlfriends left them and other such nonsense, but rather singing about real issues that affect them and all humanity for that matter.

Ah, and so we come to Cheap Sex's debut 'Launch Off To War'. And as the title implies, it is a politically-charged, dare I say thought-provoking record. Take songs like the opening title track with it's angry please of "What the fuck are we fighting for," the maniacal "Dick Cheney," and the hardcore upheaval of "Living in Fear" as well as others like "Consume and Consume" and the rebellious "Smash Your Symbols," which both depict various social ills. Mike Virus – former frontman of (yes, you know it) the Virus – sings what I'm sure many people have surmised at one time or another in "Smash Your Symbols": "When you're born you are just a number, you are just like cattle/And for your rights and freedom, it's a never-ending battle/Those who are in power will make sure you never are." How true.

Musically, what we get on Launch Off To War, is top-notch streetpunk, which oscillates between bludgeoning hardcore ("Living in Fear," "Eyes See All," "Smash Your Symbols," "Dick Cheney") and catchier fare ("Take a Chance," "It's Up to You," "Out on Your Own") all highlighted by Mike's somewhat harsh, raspy, yelling vocals. Some of the finest tracks have to be "Living in Fear" and "Eyes See All" with their machine gun guitars and relentless drums as well as the less abrasive "If Society…". And "Dick Cheney" is right up there not only because of the aggressive musical style but also because of the subject matter and lyrics. Never have I heard such an attack on the VP. Usually this honor goes to the President himself or just the government in general. It's almost comical at times, though, with lines like "He's too out of control to handle" and later "a fat bald slob for good ol' Uncle Sam." Definitely the most humorous and sardonic of the bunch.

And let's hope guitarist Johnny O.'s recovery is almost complete so the band can get back on track after their(somewhat) recent, horrific July 25th accident in Pennsylvania, which in effect curtailed their dates on the Sex, Brats, and Rock ‘n' Roll tour with labelmates Lower Class Brats that was set to begin just two days later at CBGBs. Happily the band was able to finally hit the East Coast during the Viva Le Punk three-day festival, but sadly sans Johnny. Hopefully he'll be back in commission some time soon.