No Thanks - Demo / Live: CBGBs [reissues] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

No Thanks

Demo / Live: CBGBs [reissues] (2005)


The story of New York hardcore punk band No Thanks is an interesting one. By conventional standards, their only true releases in their tenure as a band was a 7", 1000 pressings of which were made available in 1982 by Dead Space Records, and an EP entitled Are You Ready to Die?. Not exactly a lot to remember a band by, but only recently has singer Donna Damage made available a re-mastered version of the band's 1982 demo, but an 11-song set recorded only a year later at once punk rock mecca, CBGB's.

I'm sure that I'm one of the many who would never have even heard this band name uttered were it not for the release of these two discs, but seeing as that's not the case, I can relish in the fact that I am having the opportunity to hear their take on hardcore punk in all its former glory. Female-fronted hardcore punk bands have never exactly been commonplace, and even less so when the genre was just taking off, but Donna Damage's snotty vocals are the perfect fit for this brash band of four. Going back to a time where the phrase 'style over substance' was never an issue in hardcore, the seven-song, ten-minute demo is a real kick in the ass and boot in the face. This is raw, unrelenting, stripped down hardcore punk the way it was meant to be played, fast and sloppy. They don't care about time signatures or poignant lyrics, they want to be brash and in your face, and that's exactly what they are.

"Who Me?" isn't even a minute long, but is one of the best songs on this demo, perfectly exemplifying Donna Danger's 'fuck you' attitude and the rest of the band's lack of worry about playing their instruments tightly. And where that would normally be unacceptable for me, it's more than acceptable in an instance where you know that's what the band is all about. Buzzing distortion and pissed off shouting, it's emotion in the most bare form possible.

The live CD from CBGBs is more of the same tenacity that the demo displayed, but with a bit more focus on playing the instruments cohesively. There's some terrific, hard-hitting riffs to be found, and some even better leads. "Disgusting Fools" has an anthemic opening chord progression, while maintaining the grit and punch that's on every other song they play. Danger is the glue that holds it all together once again, her scratching vocals rising above all the noise behind her.

Loud. Abrasive. Punk. End of story.