Review Summary: The Band That Wouldn't Die, Part 6: In Sounds From Way Out
What Thank Heaven for Little Girls
was to Blood, Guts and Pussy
, Come Clean
is to Young and Good Looking
. While the core sound from the last album is very much carried over onto this one, it’s a bit weirder, more varied and less direct.
Unfortunately, much of the experimentation here isn’t particularly successful. Aimless laser-y synth noise clutters up “Way Out”, only ceasing for a brief but enjoyable guitar solo. The almost industrial-sounding guitar chugalug and fuzzy vocal effects of “Over You” is poorly matched with a seemingly unrelated pop-punk chorus. A trudging middle section with lazily shouted vocals brings “Deadly Eye” screeching to a halt, and the answering machine message tacked onto the end of the track is the first of many misguided attempts to reintroduce the shock value of their earlier work in a more professional-sounding context.
That’s a whole lot of strikes against Come Clean
, but there really is still a lot to like about this album. Opener “How It’s Done” is the sort of immaculate pop-punk that makes the Dwarves’ short-lived stint on Epitaph Records seem like a natural choice, “Better be Women” features amusing lyrics about hitting on lesbians and a great sing-a-long chorus (though the Christmas-themed rewrite of it they put out later is even better), and “It’s Tits” is as bouncy and fun as its namesake. Many of the other songs here are still very well-written, too, but are marred by odd production choices and needless, half-hearted stabs at sonic diversity. Come on, Blag, I don’t want no stinking synths in my punk music! What is this, Nintendocore？？？
is a good album overall, largely playing to the Dwarves’ strengths even while attempting to spice things up a bit. However, at least in retrospect, it marked the first signs that the band was starting to slip off the rails as they barreled into the 21st century. On their next album, the Dwarves doubled down on the experimentation, and the train wreck began in earnest...