Adolescents - The Complete Demos 1980-1986 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


The Complete Demos 1980-1986 (2005)


These, my friends, are all of the demos that the Adolescents have recorded over a six-year period. Yes, I am aware that the title of the album should reveal this fact to you brazenly, but I'm a little bit drowsy and it's a Sunday and the weather is nice outside and the last cup of coffee I drank was about two-and-a-half hours ago. Now this would be a problem had I not had this album loaded onto my iPod. See, I am working alone at the record store I work at right now, and if I fell asleep, that would probably cause problems. But I'm not worried about falling asleep.

Why am I not worried about falling asleep? Because the Adolescents are playing! And let me tell you, this album rocks my face. Somewhat recorded in a parent's garage, somewhat hastily recorded in studios, these sixteen tracks are the snottiest and brattiest 80's punk/hardcore I've heard in a long time. When I say snotty, I mean dripping and pouring out of the nostrils. When I say bratty, I mean a four-year-old clawing their fingernails into the floorboards while wailing at the top of its lungs.

Songs like "I Hate Children" and "We Rule And You Don't" grind their way through the speakers, making me realize that the immaturity of this band could only merit them their name. Full of frustrated angst, these demos are gritty and fast, sounding like a punk record should. There's no fancy production, no overdubs - just guitars, drums, bass, and vocals. Technically adept, we are graced by killer guitar solos every once and a while, but mostly this album is packed with three-to-four chord raw and catchy tracks.

Some might recognize an early version of "Amoeba," which is featured on the soundtrack from "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3," while "Richard Hung Himself" is a studio track that was never released on the Welcome to Reality EP. Two versions of "Wrecking Crew" are placed back-to-back. "Do The Eddie" is a fast-paced song that features on the spot stop time, proving the bands proficiency with thier instruments.

Now I have to admit a blasphemy. I had never really heard the Adolescents before I got this album to review. And I regret it heartily. But the thing is, now that I've heard these early demos and how great these songs are recorded lo-fi, I'm not sure I want anything that was a studio release. There is so much raw energy and anger on these recordings that I can't stop playing them and they can't stop playing over and over again in my head.