Attitude Adjustment - The Collection (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Attitude Adjustment

The Collection (2010)


Attitude Adjustment is one of those moderately obscure bands that never received the attention they deserved and stayed fairly below the radar despite their relatively high profile on a local level. Proof is in both this re-release compilation on punk archive experts Taang! and the smattering of fliers across the liner notes that document billing alongside such immortal acts in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s as DRI, Suicidal Tendencies, Circle Jerks, Discharge, RKL, Poison Idea and even NOFX.

The Collection is a three-piece assemblage of Attitude Adjustment's full-length studio discography spanning 1986's American Paranoia, 1988's No More Mr. Nice Guy and 1991's Out of Hand. In what looks on paper like somewhat of a revolving-door lineup, the only constant in the group is drummer Chris K., while guitarists, bassists and even singers drift in and out.

AA's snotty thrash-punk does nothing to belie their juvenile lyrics and half-baked ideas. But this is without a doubt the charm of the 16 songs that comprise their debut LP. It's the primitive aggression and youthfulness that makes American Paranoia so convincing and the most enjoyable of any incarnation of the band.

By the time No More Mr. Nice Guy hits, the entire lineup outside of drummer Chris K. has been replaced, with a heavier feel thanks in no small part to lower-toned growler Kevin R. Unfortunately, the quality of lyrics doesn't keep up with the rest of the band's development, as the awkward "Satan Is God" attempts, "I believe in you / I believe in me / But worshiping God or Satan I cannot see."

The final installment in The Collection is Out of Hand, which opens with Travis Bickle's infamous Taxi Driver excerpt and rips into a more metal-oriented sound with death bellows and a second guitar mixed into the fold. The straight-ahead thrash style of "Power of Control" takes full advantage of the soloing capabilities a second guitar brings, while the drums incorporate more double-bass rhythms than the heavyset No More Mr. Nice Guy. The lyrics still leave a bit to be desired in terms of vocabulary and flow, but the themes are all generally pretty solid as the thrash-punk ripper "Out of Hand" suggests, "The man in white he breeds the hate / And children learn from his racist traits / War--the downfall of man / Bombing--all inhabitants banned / Killing--one another with hate / For our world--is it too late?"

The folks at Taang! have done an excellent job reassembling the works of Attitude Adjustment, both in the stellar art and packaging and the chronological sequencing. Throughout the 41 tracks that make up The Collection, the musical maturation is effectively demonstrated, while the youthful zeal is never lost.