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Friday, June 10, 2016

Ninety Pound Wuss -- Ninety Pound Wuss


I can be and have been dogmatic about certain areas of my life, but I generally like music if it sounds good, regardless of genre. I had friends back in the day who wouldn't listen to MxPx because they "weren't really punk"--they just "sung about girls and stuff." Well, an odd song here-or-there otherwise, that's pretty much true. However, much of MxPx's late 90's work is excellent, regardless of how punk it isn't. Those same friends could not have taken the same tack with MxPx's label-mates, Ninety Pound Wuss, who played just as fast as the Bremerton Bombers (I just made that my knowledge, no one has ever referred to MxPx as the Bremerton Bombers...but we have to ask ourselves...why not?), but actually stood for something beyond teen romance and having a good time. Wuss vocalist, Jeff Suffering, applies his deeply held Anarcho Christian beliefs to the entirety of Ninety Pound Wuss' catalog, "entirety" entailing this self-titled debut, as well. I say "deeply held" because, much like my own religious beliefs, Jeff Suffering, nee Bettger, still holds them twenty years later. This guy means what he is sort-of-singing (he sounds like Johnny Rotten, minus the sneer, but with a heaping-helping of screamy grit), and that passion comes out in the music. Might as well make this two paragraphs.
Bettger and his bandmates certainly sound sincere, even if their 1996 trade-craft can succinctly be described as "fun speed punk." Much like the brightly colored album cover (and corresponding back cover), Ninety Pound Wuss doesn't forgot the "good time" part MxPx was so skilled in conveying, and even if the lyrics do gouge a little more deeply than your typical mid-90's Tooth & Nail punk band completely composed of teenagers, this album is a blast, unlike this run-on sentence. Ninety Pound Wuss would change it up a bit on the next two (which I will review shortly!), but everything this self-titled album is can be conveyed by its eighteenth(!) track, "Something Must Break." It's fun, fast, and chaotic, but it means something.

I would be remiss not to mention my six year-old son's opinion: "Daddy, this is too crazy. Why do all these songs sound the same?"

1996 Tooth & Nail Records
1. Perseverance 2:34
2. Act Up 2:32
3. Girl Song 1:45
4. Telephone Wire 1:32
5. Daylight Savings Man 2:42
6. A.S.D. (Apathetic Selfish Destruction) 2:15
7. Misplaced Society 1:03
8. Shedding Blood 2:20
9. Red 2:42
10. The New Age 2:47
11. Responsibility 2:27
12. Olympia 1:39
13. Legalism 1:23
14. It All Goes Off 1:56
15. Freedom 2:03
16. Cut Throat 2:03
17. Spiritual Small Guy 2:29
18. Something Must Break 1:53
19. I Am (Everything) 2:28

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