Electro Hippies - The Only Good Punk (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Electro Hippies

The Only Good Punk (2002)


Don't you hate it when there's something that you think you should love, that you're expecting to love, hell, that you're TOLD to love, turns out to be boring and kinda shitty? I do. That's why I'm fucking pissed about my apathy, and possible dislike, of the Electro Hippies. See, the Electro Hippies are one of the formative crust bands on Peaceville Records, and they are credited with kick-starting the whole grindcore thing. Sounds like my bag, right? Well, listening through The Only Good Punk is like trying to run through quicksand -- it slows you waaaay down, until eventually you just want to give up and die. That's not to say that this stuff couldn't be good in small doses, but to listen to 40 (!) tracks of crusty-metally whatever is just too much for one human being to take.

See, The Only Good Punk combines like, four Electro Hippies releases onto one CD: the The Only Good Punk Is a Dead One LP, four tracks from two separate Peaceville comps, and the cleverly titled Electro Hippies Live album. Of course, even if there weren't 40 (!) songs to listen to, it would still be difficult to listen to the whole thing.

The first album starts out promising, with "Faith" and the plodding "Acid Rain." However, by the time you've listened to five songs, you realize that everything is going to sound the same the whole way through. There are gonna be the occasionally raspy vocals, the all-too-frequent weird yelp-y vocals, the grinding blast-beaten parts, and the rhythmic Amebix parts. And none of this changes. Occasionally there are some cool riffs, but there is always some ridiculous flourish that just ruins them. If some of the lead guitar lines had been less trebly, and the band had refrained from little solos every now and again, it would be fine, but, for me at least, anything more metallic than a hammer-on or death metal rhythm in crust just puts it over the top.

I suppose the compilation tracks are better; they're notable for the inclusion of "Mega Armageddon Death," the second-shortest song ever recorded, behind only "You Suffer."

As is the case with most of the Peaceville crust reissues, the packaging is half-baked. There are some mediocre liner notes by the guitarist Andy, and a few photos, but Peaceville once again leaves out the lyrics. In a subgenre of punk where the lyrics are often the only thing that differentiates one song from another, this prevents a crucial connection between the album and the listener. It's almost like watching a movie dubbed into some language you don't know -- you can get an idea of what it's about, but in the end, you still don't understand the fucking plot.

If you're really into crust or early grindcore, then this is a must-have no matter what. Hell, you've probably got the fuckin' thing already. If, however, you are just getting into the smelliest part of punk, there are many better bands and albums that you could get to introduce you to the genre.