Part Time Christians  - Rock and Roll Is Disco [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Part Time Christians

Rock and Roll Is Disco [reissue] (2010)


With a cheeky name and a weirdness that eclipses their musical talent and songwriting abilities, I'm entirely unsurprised that Jello Biafra has been a supporter of Part Time Christians from the get-go. Rock and Roll Is Disco is a re-release of the original Alternative Tentacles vinyl from 1984, and though I greatly respect Taang! for their devotion to archivist releases, this is one of the few they've done that could just as easily have stayed dead.

Combined with the reissuing of the Rock and Roll Is Disco EP are four songs that make up the P.T.C. Lives EP from 2008, and P.T.C. Demo circa 1983. While the production improves significantly with each studio effort, the songs are, for the most part, drawn-out punk-metal hybrids with goofy lyrics that leave a lot to be desired.

For some reason, Part Time Christians decided on bowling themes as their gimmick of choice. "Strength Through Bowling," "Bowling Pin Massacre," "Orthopedic Bowling Shoes" and "Gutterball" take up the majority of Rock and Roll Is Disco. The first song, "Religion on a Stick" is actually the best song musically and seems like a lot more appropriate of a theme, but is nevertheless held back by ridiculous lyrics. "Gutterball" is okay as a metaphor but still milks the strange bowling theme a little too much, while "Orthopedic Bowling Shoes" is just a cringer. "Salisbury House" is a paranoid horror song about a mansion in Des Moines that was renovated in the late '70s and apparently "scared the hell out of" lead singer Cosmo. I visited it many times on elementary school field trips and can't say I necessarily empathize.

The P.T.C. Lives 2008 EP has one good song called "Bionic Cop" but the songs are slow and long and border on metal-y butt rock. The last track of the EP, "One Dead Bee" clocks in at a horrifyingly boring 6:44, cheesy solos included.

The raw 1983 demos are probably the best part of this release. The 49-second "Ultra Violence" isn't exactly hi-fidelity, but it's a lot more enjoyable than the slow, sludgy, Flipper-like "Headache" or the demo of "Salisbury House."

There are a couple decent tunes on Rock and Roll Is Disco but in general it's pretty obvious why Part Time Christians never became a household name. Though there might be some appeal for those with a less-refined sense of humor and patience to wait out five-minute songs, the majority would get more out of some of Taang!'s other quality re-releases.