The Avengers - The Avengers (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Avengers

The Avengers (1983)

CD Presents

I can't say that the Office of Lieutenant Governor of the State of California doesn't come with some perks, but I could believe my eyes when I actually found a small record store in the great state of California that actually STOCKED and SOLD the OUT OF PRINT self-titled Avengers LP ["the pink album"]. And I bought it for cheap: just $19.00! That's definitely a perk. Pretty sweet for the son of grape pickers from Fresno.

Why my unbridled enthusiasm? Well, the Avengers were one of the most versatile, though underappreciated, female-fronted punk bands of the early 1980s from the Bay Area. They existed for a few years, just long enough to be remembered (by reference) for opening the Sex Pistols' final show. Essentially, the Avengers basically play overt, mildly politically disaffected Sex Pistols music -- but just way much better!

Furthermore, when the Avengers disbanded, vocalist (and lusciously attractive) Penelope Houston went off on an extended solo career to experiment in folky music; but the specter of acclaim of the Avengers influence continued to linger -- even as their original recordings went out of print. Hence, my exuberance for finding this CD.

I listened to the previously available (bootleg quality) Avengers recordings (if you can call them that) "American in Me" and "Died for Your Sins," and the sound quality just doesn't compare to the crisp original studio recording of the S/T. Get the original CD if you can -- it's a better frame of reference.

Some notable highlights are the anti-allegiance anthem of "We Are the One," the argumentative "I Believe in Me," the urgent "Open Your Eyes," a rant on American lethargy in "American in Me," the somewhat uplifting "Second to None," and their Rolling Stones cover "Paint It Black." Other tracks that you can't find on the (extremely rare) vinyl version of the S/T are included on the CD: "Money Money" and "Cheap Tragedies."

The recording quality is comparable to the Sex Pistols LP, and it should be, since some of these recordings were actually produced by Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones (NOT the comment board douche). So you get to hear the adroit subtleties that the other CDs lack: Penelope's mild-tempered voice wailing, crooning and taunting while Greg Ingraham blazes and splinters guitar, Jimmy Wilsey injects his bass, and Danny Furious pounds the drum (without all those heavy bass frequencies).

I could probably tell you specifically where I bought my copy, but by the time you read this, they probably will have sold out of copies. Oh, well.

This is Cruz Control and if you have the time on June 6, 2006, I'll be running for Insurance Commissioner and I'd appreciate some mad props at your registered polling place. Cruz Control: out.