Things Gatorface Taught Me
- Like my gran-pappy used to say (or was it Mike Park?), mail order is still fun.
Thanks to a sampler that No Idea Records included with a previous purchase, I got turned on to Gatorface. Along with Virgins, Gatorface is a spin-off from the former Floridian hardcore group New Mexican Disaster Squad by ex-members Alex Goldfarb and Richard Minino. Intrigued by what No Idea sent me, I opted to order the group's debut EP, Sick and Stupid. Vinyl-only, my baby came on translucent gold wax, one-sided, with a nifty etching of a needle injecting a tentacle during a thunderstorm. It's very Lovecraftian.
- If all else fails, you can always play pop-punk.
The differences between New Mexican Disaster Squad and Gatorface are ultimately minimal. While NMDS might recall Strike Anywhere or Government Issue's blistering yet snotty hardcore/punk, Gatorface skews ever so slightly towards punk of the pop variety. This is the sort of lifestyle change that will be a big deal to maybe 0.000001 percent of the world's population at most. The rest of us can revel in how infectious Sick and Stupid sounds. It recalls Descendents, or maybe even Propagandhi circa How to Clean Everything.
- Sick and Stupid is jawesome.
Offering six cuts (one of âem a DI cover!) in less than 13 minutes, Sick and Stupid blends early '80s hardcore and early '90s pop-punk, with high quality results. The knock-out of the collection is "Kid in a Candy Store." Fast drums and a quick guitar strum kick it off, but it's when the "whoa"s kick off in the pre-chorus that things start to tingle the spider sense. The song builds into this thrilling explosion of pop-punk euphoria (in cut time!). Goldfarb sounds remarkably assured throughout, but he really cuts his teeth on the lines "It's only time, before we end up like the others / The difference now is that the stakes have grown much higher." Everything gets pounded out for a few bars before the rhythm section drops out. Even with just guitar and a few more "whoa"s, the vocals still come off as anthemic.
"Kid in a Candy Store" follows the pop-punk rule of vague lyrics, but listeners won't be able to build their own meanings quite as easily with songs like "Flak Jacket." Goldfarb takes to task Americans who, despite all evidence to the contrary, still support military involvement in the Middle East. At 83 seconds in length, the song cuts straight to the point â "Flak jacket / Would you wear it?"
Regardless of how much one likes to read into lyrics, though, there's no denying Sick and Stupid's delicious slabs o' punk. It's a catchy, rocking romp throughout, and since it's one-sided, there's no need to flip the record. Digital fans get some love courtesy of a download code. New Mexican Disaster Squad isn't really dead; just call âem Gatorface now.