Screamers - In A Better World (Cover Artwork)


In A Better World (2000)


The Screamers were one of the most popular and visionary of LA bands, but were inevitably forgotten due to a total lack of recorded output while they were together. That doesn't mean they weren't as important as the Germs or the Weirdos, though.

Whereas most punk bands rallied against rock standards and conventions using standard, conventional rock instrumental setup, the Screamers actually did something that had never been done before. They made noise with 2 synthesizers, a drummer and a howling crazyman for frontman in Tomata du Plenty. Another element that set them apart from the other groups was the rain cloud/sunshine mix of songwriting on behalf of the two leaders, Tomata and Tommy Gear. Tomata wrote the more fun, playful songs in their sets ("Magazine Love", "Vertigo", "I'll Go Steady With Twiggy"), while Tommy created the dark, almost proto-gothic songs ("Eva Braun", "122 Hours of Fear", "Violent World").

That's not to say that these guys were all-gimmick, no rock. Their music created surreal, unsettling landscapes for frontman Tomata to perform on. Think Kraftwerk meets Devo meets the Sex Pistols and you have the closest thing to an easy explination of their sound.

This 2 CD package collects a 4 live sets and a few demos from their first 3 years, making for the closest thing to a complete Screamers collection you're likely find. The liner notes are a collection of arcticles and photos, and mention a follow up to this.

The biggest downset is the live repetes. If you're one for high-quality live sound, you'll be dissapointed, also. I don't mind that, though. They do a really great cover of "Sex Boy", but two versions? A little much. Some songs are even repeated 4 times.

I can see the point in trying to get a complete set in, but it gets a bit grating. To see the better side of things, though, Tomata's crowd interaction is rather entertaining. They don't just shoot into song after song like Black Flag, which is alright.

Overall, for educated people into old punk, this is pretty essential, seeing as how popular these guys were around the time the LA scene was forming.