Angry Samoans - Back from Samoa (Cover Artwork)

Angry Samoans

Back from Samoa (1982)

Triple X

The Samoans were always kind of a music geek's punk band. Started by former music critics (Lester Bangs style), these guys are to hardcore punk kind of what the "Scream" movies are to horror films -- part legitimate players, part self-aware satirists of the genre. After all, with songs like "They Saved Hitler's Cock," "My Old Man's a Fatso" and "You Stupid Jerk" at the (relatively speaking) late date of `82, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that Metal Mike Saunders and crew were laughing both with, and at, the whole scene. Maybe that's obvious, though.

I think if you really got honest answers from some of punk's more outrageous contributors, you'd probably get a sense that there was more post-modern parody going on, even back then, than anyone was willing to admit. But onto the album...

Back from Samoa is easily one of punk's catchiest, funniest, and foul-mouthed albums ever. It's the smart-assed teenagers flipside of Fear's The Record. As a matter of fact, one can easily envision Lee Ving as the grown-up version of Metal Mike, hoarse and drunk, bellowing from the bleachers at a baseball game after years of putting on weight and putting in time at the brickyard.

The songs are so obnoxious, and yet so catchy and so irresistible, that even with undercurrents of homophobia and pure mean-spiritedness, it's impossible not to bang your head and sing along. "Lights Out" and "The Todd Killings" are two of the shortest, greatest punk songs ever. Go on, stab along. And on top of everything else, the band is tight, the riffs are juicy, and Saunders' vocals have the same wonderfully snotty appeal as Milo Aukerman's.

Are they serious? Is this a joke? Are they making fun of punk? Is it okay to like this? Before you make up your mind, the entire thing comes to a crashing halt in 18 minutes. The Angry Samoans simply don't give you enough time to hate them. So play it again already.