Leather, Bristles, Studs and Acne [Bonus Track]

by: G.B.H.

Leather, Bristles, No Survivors and Sick Boys... is a compilation of several early G.B.H. singles and EP releases. As such, it has a bit of a hodgepodge quality, though the uniform crude production and rudimentary music and lyrics all make the individual tracks blend together somewhat. Compared to the slicker, sometimes more bloated production and music of later G.B.H. albums, Leather, Bristles sometimes sounds refreshingly rough and energetic. "Generals" and "No Survivors" are both scathing anti-war tirades, and "Dead on Arrival" is a despairing anti-drug song. There's even a hint of musical complexity in "Sick Boy," a Clockwork Orange-like depiction of juvenile delinquency. Unfortunately, for every promising moment, there's also the silly "Lycanthropy" and "Necrophilia," and the even more juvenile "Big Women," an ode to big women that the band takes pains to dedicate to "feminists." It's sadly indicative of what G.B.H.'s future work would be like in that respect, since it seems that for every step forward, G.B.H. takes a step back. Nonetheless, while it's hardly definitive (since it seems padded with too many songs that work best as B-sides), Leather, Bristles does show enough promise to be worth a listen. [Captain Oi!'s 2002 edition included bonus tracks.] ~ Victor W. Valdivia

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