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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ground Zero - Pink

Name: Ground Zero
Album: Pink
Year: 1985
Style: Hard-Core, Punk
Similar Bands: Dead Milkmen, King Missle, Early Dismemberment Plan, Early NOFX
"One-Word" Review: Silly-Proto-Alternative/Grunge
Based Out Of: Minneapolis, MN
Label: Reflex Records, Dutch East India Trading, L.S.R. Records
Pink - Cover & Promo sheet
Pink - Back & Record
Pink (1985)
  1. Will You Please 1:24
  2. South 2:27
  3. Just a Criminal 1:59
  4. Company 3:47
  5. The 11th Hour of the Skippy Peanut Cluster 1:31
  6. Revenge of the Blimp 2:14/
  7. Pink 2:54
  8. Patriot 3:46
  9. One Half Hour / The Legendary Rose 5:26
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Bob Mould - Producer, Engineer (Husker Du)
Steve Fjelstad - Producer, Engineer
Taras Ostroushko - Guitar Vox (Henry, Terry Eason)
Jamie Ronnei - Bass
Dave Evenhouse - Drums (Million Megaton Explosion, Wahinis)
Val Sutpher - Cover Art & graphic Design

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band, and I don’t know exactly why I got it. The cover art is a bit juvenile, with rats working at construction. The image, name and album title don’t seem to be connected at all except that the font is pink. But I am familiar with Dutch East India Trading co a little, and that is something familiar I can take assurance from. Also I like how the back is set up, it is very indie, with the band images in the middle and the lyrics right there too. The back says Bob Mould produced and engineered it, so that lends it self, along with the recording year of 1985, to being a competent record.

Album Review: “Will You Please” has a metal guitar pulsate in the beginning that after a couple of measures is picked up with the driving bass and drum beat. The vocals are basically spoken, and fast at that, and it reminds me very much of the Dead Milkmen. It is about riding a skateboard, and it places the singer’s identity of a mo-hawked punk into the song.
“South” again, has the vocals that are more spoken than sung over the music that comes in little sections that are split by tempo changes. It is fast in general, but it is fun and upbeat, rather than angry and aggressive. The guitar is nearly prog in its cruising up and down the musical scales.
“Just a Criminal” is a story song about a person put in jail, who should only be thought of as a criminal. And the storyline is dripping with sarcasm. It ends quite abruptly, but it follows the whole heavy punk/metal edge.
“Company” begins with a metal guitar base, but then quickly switched to a bouncy pop number, reminiscent of the Violent Femmes in the music. But it quickly changes to Screaming Trees or Dinosaur Jr when the guitars enter back on.
“The 11th Hour of the Skippy Peanut Cluster” is a fast thrash song with vocals spoken over it like slam poetry. It is like free-form jazz with beat poetry...but the jazz is speed metal, and the poetry is nonsense silliness. They clash with each other perfectly, creating more art than song.
“Revenge of the Blimp” takes off after bit of silence. It speeds through fast so the kids can slam and mosh together. But the vocals are laid over top, sounding a bit like Weird Al / early Dismemberment Plan. Yes. Early Dis. Plan is a good comparison. But it is not nearly as good. At the end of the song, the singer has a bit of mouth foaming ranting, but he settles down for the ending.

“Pink” finds the singer using a higher end singing style. The complexly crafted song changes behind the vocals, begging them to change with it, alas, no vocals are layered over the most complex changes. But where they do meet up, the vocals still seem teetering off key. They are wimpy and trembling, probably exactly how the band designed them. This is the most song of the songs, and it really pre-dates but would fit in perfectly with what was to come from Seattle 4-5 a few years later.
“Patriot” is a country folk-metal song. It is designed with simple chord changes, and the thumping bass and drum beats drive it on faster, leaving the true folk aesthetic behind. I could see the kids at the show doing a tongue-in-cheek square dancing hoe-down that would quickly transition into spinning their “partners” around and letting go into the crowd, thanks to centrifugal force.
“One Half Hour / The Legendary Rose” begins with a competent drum beat and electric guitar wailing, but overlapped, they throw each other off, and they seem very off beat. But they soon sync up around 45 seconds and continue to grow faster through out the musical intro. Around 1:15 they gain musical harmony and play out the rest of the intro, occasionally falling into a chaotic spiral, but it digs itself out with meandering scales and a solid drum beat. The bass helps out, but is really covered over by the drums. Around 2:45, the vocals, a story reading really, begins as the music pauses. The reading continues as the music pounds and pulses through the background. At 3:45, the vocals stop and the song changes direction to a silly speed punk/metal song. The vocals strip any hard core image that they might have by sounding like a zany Weird Al. The song ends with sound effects from the guitars and sporadic notes played without any real cohesion. And somewhere, for seemingly no good reason the album ends.

Stand Out Track: Will You Please


1 comment:

  1. Ground Zero Pink is an unknown punk gem I found at a used record store for a buck back in 1988 in Woonoscket Rhode Island. I love this album! It's fast and noisey and is way better than anything Dead Milkmen ever did.