Spermbirds - Something to Prove / Nothing Is Easy (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Something to Prove / Nothing Is Easy (2006)

Rookie / Boss Tuneage

In punk rock, there are many bands with guiding ideologies, beliefs that define for them what "punk" is. The Spermbirds are not one of those bands. The Spermbirds are a typical snotty, reasonably melodic skatepunk band. Their biggest standout feature is that they formed in West Germany in the early-to-mid `80s. This CD, recently issued through Boss Tuneage's "Retro Series," includes their first two full-lengths, Something to Prove and Nothing Is Easy, and adds a few bonus tracks at the end for shits and giggles.

Right off the bat, you can tell that this is very SoCal-esque; Something has an Agent Orange cover, while Nothing has a cover of the Angry Samoans. The guitar switches between basic early hardcore chord changes and some nice melodic lead guitar lines, but doesn't really innovate. The vocalist, I believe, was an American G.I., so all of the lyrics are in English, and lack that annoying "look at me, I can legally drink beer and look at pornography at the age of thirteen!" accent.

The thing that bothers me most about this first album is the lyrics (this ties in with the lack of ideology, see). One minute, on "You're Not a Punk," they claim that people who skateboard shouldn't try to be punk, but then contradict themselves with "My God Rides a Skateboard," a song that is notable because it contains the most feeble attempt at rapping ever. The only statement they seem to make definitively is, "girls suck." The album is filled with the kind of casual sexism that has no place in punk. Tracks like "What a Bitch Is," "Bed Tool," and "Playboy Subscriber" ("I'm gonna come, come, come all over your face") make me, well, a little uneasy. It's not done tongue-in-cheek, and it sounds more like the kind of talk that was going on in the crappy metal that I'm sure all of the other German kids were listening to.

Nothing Is Easy is an improvement over the first album. The melodies are catchier, and the hardcore parts, especially on the opener "Die Sgt. Landry," are faster and harder. The lyrics are a little more "emo," a little more personal, and they've left most of the machismo at home. The title track is a little creepily conservative, in the "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" sense, but it's not like punk bands haven't preached self-reliance before.

The packaging for this reissue is pretty good, a glossy digi-pak with Cerebus the Aardvark's face staring right at you. While most of the lyrics are included, there are no liner notes, and the album art for the second album is not included. If you like your Adolescents, your TSOL, and whatnot, then check the Spermbirds out. It's not exactly my thing, but hey, they might be yours.