Suburban Lawns
Suburban Lawns


4.5
superb

Review

by butcherboy CONTRIBUTOR (88 Reviews)
September 22nd, 2017 | 43 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I'm a janitor, Oh my genitals!

’80-’85 Part VIII

An arrhythmic colloid of nervy funk, post-punk moodiness and the twee side of new wave, Long Beach art-punkers Suburban Lawns were never even so much forgotten darlings than a crack of light in an half-empty room, there and gone without barely anyone to heed the noise. Time was to blame in part. It was a fertile period for the underground, and bands were popping up, sparking off and splitting up faster than anyone could digest them. Geography didn’t do Suburban Lawns any favours either. The West Coast spent the early 80’s in incubation, its hardcore scene honing its teeth and just about ready to burst forth. There wasn’t much room in the DIY niche for a gang of bijou post-punkers that coated their gloom in bubbling synths and thin shredding, and anyone who had such aspirations from the Midwest all the way down the California coast, was running to New York City, where that tack was on an up-kick that at the time seemed like it would never halt. Even a video made by promising young director Jonathan Demme (of future indie classic Something Wild), and a feature on SNL couldn’t elevate Suburban Lawns past cult status.

Retrospect has been kinder to the band, and nowadays you’d be pressed to find a post-punk vinyl collector who doesn’t have “Gidget Goes to Hell” or “Janitor” on a 7”. The five-year lifespan of Suburban Lawns yielded one EP and one full-length, self-produced and distributed, DIY down to the album art. Which is why it’s all the stranger and more stirring just how confident and self-possessed the music is. Suburban Lawns doesn’t crack the half-hour mark, but manages to get so much done in that frame it’s downright dizzying. Sparkled synths linger behind co-vocalist Frankie Ennui on “Not Allowed,” letting the verses drift loftily, before breaking into speedy punk on the hook. His straightforward punk rock knacks on “Pioneers” and “Jam the Controls” ground the album, giving it an approachability that would have otherwise been lost somewhat in the irresistible artfulness of the Lawns’ other mastermind. The focal point of the band always was Su Tissue, petite and fiery, and as much a spearhead of 80’s avant-females as Ari Up or Poly Styrene. She guides “Gossip,” “Anything,” “Green Eyes” and the immortal contribution to the canon, “Janitor” with equal parts dissymmetry and grace. All of that splendid conflation makes a low-key masterpiece of Suburban Lawns, an album of testimony, of just how much can be done with so little, a want for experimentalism and an immaculate artistic eye, and the best twee punkers you haven’t heard.



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


5977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's finally here! the review none of you (except maybe Sandwich) have been waiting for..

SandwichBubble
September 22nd 2017


4992 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Damn right I've been waiting for this.

This album is the jam till death

5.0 incoming

Digging: Maniucha Bikont / Ksawery Wojcinski - Oj Borom, Borom

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


5977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i wish gidget goes to hell was on this.. the compulsive part of me hates that it isn't included on the original pressing.. fits perfectly..

SandwichBubble
September 22nd 2017


4992 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Agreed, but why bother with a bloated runtime of less than 30 minutes









):

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


5977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

if no one notices the dumb "pressed to find vinyl collector" pun, i will self-harm with sarcasm..

SandwichBubble
September 22nd 2017


4992 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I will use my secret mod powers to ban you for it

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


5977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Give me time to realize my crime

Let me love and steal

I have danced inside your eyes

How can I be real

Do you really want to hurt me

Do you really want to make me cry

Precious kisses words that burn me

Lovers never ask you why

In my heart the fire is burning

Choose my color find a star

Precious people always tell me

That's a step a step too far

Do you really want to hurt me

Do you really want to make me cry

Do you really want to hurt me

Do you really want to make me cry

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


15799 Comments


the long wait for the "third" review is growing

i may have to steal it away and make u cry

Digging: T. Rex - The Slider

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


5977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

maybe i'm saving it for last.. because you are my only sunshine, fripp..

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


15799 Comments


hmmm

ideas are bubbling within this head of mine and they can't lurk forever

how about we both just do it, considering we'll be basing it off of different versions (although my plan would be to chronicle the history behind it, the sessions and the overall context; an quintessential tl;dr fripp review that happens once a year)

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


5977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well then you take it.. it won't fit the criteria for the series then, plus now i want to read yours more than i wan to write mine..

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


15799 Comments


yeah i noticed the whole 80-85 and changed my rec to a Psychic TV album which would fit really nicely into this series

although you're clearly more of a Alex Chilton freak than I am (more of a Chris Bell guy, unsurprisingly enough)

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


5977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i'm going to listen to Psychic TV tomorrow actually.. never heard them before.

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


15799 Comments


me neither although a quick description since this is the part I think would have you interested:

"An English experimental video art and music group, formed by performance artist Genesis P-Orridge and video director Peter Christopherson after the break-up of Throbbing Gristle"

surely to be a quality listen

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


15799 Comments


plus I sampled the album I rec'd and it's freaky as all hell

SandwichBubble
September 22nd 2017


4992 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Early Psychic Tv is the shiiit

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


5977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Genesis P-Orridge



sold..

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


15799 Comments


Knew it.

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


15799 Comments


plus i've been meaning to get into them so I definitely wanna see what you've got to say

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


5977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

decided then.. psychic tv for me, and you do the sprawling Third review..



side note - genesis porridge is probably what phil collins calls his ejaculate..



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