Thursday, June 22, 2006

Record Review: Lillingtons - Death By Television (Reissue)

The Lillingtons’ ‘Death By Television’ is one of the most underrated punk albums of the past 10 years. ‘Death By Television’ was a revelation. The Lillingtons earned a cult following with the blitzkrieg, balls-to-the-wall pop punk and the smart science fiction theme that pervaded the album. Problems at Lookout! Records precipitated the album being pulled from print and fans scrambling for copies on E-Bay, laying out exorbitant sums of money. Now Red Scare have taken the appropriate action and re-issued it for the greater good.

Pop punk. If you find yourself turning up your nose and images of wind-swept asymmetrical hair cuts and shitty emo-metal hybrids running through your head, find someone to bitch slap you back into place. The Lillingtons come from the stream of pop punk where bands like the Ramones, Buzzcocks, Undertones, Descendents, The Queers, The Dickies, Sloppy Seconds and Screeching Weasel are revered. If you’re looking for a reference point, the Lillingtons were reared on Lookout! Records pop punk. And it shows. The 1-4-5 chord progressions are reminiscent of Screeching Weasel and the Groovie Ghoulies. The clumsy lead breaks are lifted directly from the Screeching Weasel song book. But the Lillingtons put their own slant on the genre. Their slick, yet fierce pop punk wall of sound was unlike the amateur punk rock stylings of the Screeching Weasels and the Queers of the world. So unique, that the Lillingtons themselves have their own imitators in the likes of the Copyrights and a slew of other lesser bands.

Over the course of the album, the Lillingtons blaze through 14 pop punk gems. And that’s no bullshit journalistic hyperbole. ‘Death By Television’ is swollen at the seams with hits. ‘Don’t Trust The Humanoids’, ‘I Saw The Apeman’, ‘X-Ray Specs’, ‘You’re The Only One’, ‘I Need Some Brain Damage’, ‘Codename Peabrain’ and ‘Phantom Maggot’ are all certified classics.

But there is diversity on Death By Television. They knew the value of mixing slower songs with the faster ones, the harder with the softer. While there isn’t a great disparity in the songs, a saccharine ballad like ‘You’re The Only One’ seamlessly runs into a certified fist-pumper like ‘I Need Some Brain Damage’. When you’re finished ploughing through ‘Black Hole In My Mind’, you launch head first into the anthemic ‘I Saw The Apeman (On The Moon)’. This all lends a sense of purpose and anticipation to each song.

The combination of the success of Kody’s new band, Teenage Bottlerocket, the re-issue of ‘Death By Television’ and ‘Backchannel Broadcast’ (due later this year) and a new Lillingtons LP (tentatively titled ‘The Too Late Show’) also due later this year will hopefully result in renewed interest in the band they so richly deserve.

Five Thumbs Up


Anonymous Vegancheesesteak said...

Best pop punk band ever... I was hooked with the Shit out of Luck LP all the way thru to the great new Too Late Show. Wish they would tour.

6:16 AM  

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