Pinhead Gunpowder - Compulsive Disclosure (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Pinhead Gunpowder

Compulsive Disclosure (2003)


Since releasing the downright classic Shoot the Moon EP on Billie Joe Armstrong's Adeline imprint in 1999, Pinhead Gunpowder has stayed true to vinyl and vinyl only, releasing several 7" records on several labels. Lookout Records has taken the liberty of compiling these songs onto one nice and easy compact disc, and the result does not let down. Containing tunes from Lookout's 8 Chords, 328 Words 7", the split with Dillinger Four on Adeline, and the self-titled release on THD, this compilation EP (I don't care what Lookout says, it's fucking fourteen minutes long!) picks up right where the last CD-released EP left off. PG's brand of snotty, East Bay, mid-90s punk with a spritz of pop is like a fine wine, only getting better with age. The necessary Green Day sound, prerequisite dash of Ramones, and a splash of Mr. T Experience pushes it full-throttle.

Sharing vocal duties, Armstrong and Aaron Cometbus compliment each other better than most bands wish they could, and both lead the charge in each song forcefully. The clever, storytelling lyrics narrate and hold your attention the same way those mid-life-crises-waiting-to-happen in the Wiggles captivate swarms of five-year-olds. In the spectacular, uptempo acoustic number "Landlords," it really feels like you're sitting right in the molding, cracking, run-down apartment room hostage-like with them as Cometbus and Armstrong harmonically ramble together "shut the power off, give me cold cramped rooms, disconnected phones and leaky roofs." They aggressively tell a pseudo-tale that even Tomas Kalnoky would envy at some points.

Even besides the threats domestica, the spectrum of topics is all over the place. The overall positivity of apathy is ever-present as it's been in PG's career. In "At Your Funeral," the Nelson Muntz-like character exclaims, "Until they read your eulogy, 'Ha ha ha!' at your family, 'Let's be honest guys, better late than never.'" It also represents well in the chug-a-lug, 20-second-long "Porch" anthem. But then in "Buffalo," a connection between the great animals that once roamed our country and leaving a sweet girl behind is used. Keeping safe from jealous boyfriends is the story at hand in "Crazy Horse," and "Black Mountain Pt. 3," with its horn-indulging bridge, rhetorically interrogates its name-dropped engineers and philosophers.

Plus, the mid-to-top-level production works like a charm, constantly fitting the sound and moods perfectly. The bass is turned up in all the right spots, the guitars sound fast, raw, and crunchy as they always have, and the drums are right on.

For a single-band compilation, the cohesiveness it gives off is unusual, with the only awkward exception being the second track, "Second Street," with its mid-tempo frame. Everything together just works well, and once again proves that side projects aren't always a compulsive disaster, but rather quite the creative disclosure.

"Letter from an Old Friend"