July 2011 Archives

The Delinquents: "Alien Beach Party"

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delinquents1.pngThe Delinquents
Alien Beach Party
Live Wire, 1979

Although The Delinquents are probably best remembered for their collaboration with famed rock critic Lester Bangs (an effort culminating in 1980's proto-cowpunk Jook Savages On The Brazos LP), the band was hardly an unknown commodity prior to their work with the journalist. The Delinquents' first single, 1979's "Alien Beach Party," was selected by England's New Musical Express as the publication's Single of the Week. And for good reason: the three tracks comprising the 7" EP are an infectious blend of psychedelic Farfisa organs, surf guitar riffs, and female vocals muddied by lo-fi recording.

Track Listing:

Track 1. "Alien Beach Party." The first minute of "Alien Beach Party" is the highlight of the disc. Opening with a creepy, high-pitched warbling organ note and using short, repetitive guitar riffs and bass lines to create a sense of increasing urgency, the A-side works its way towards a B-movie shriek at the one minute mark that jars the listener out of the guitar-induced trance into which he or she has fallen. Although the mesmeric riffs reappear throughout the remainder of the song, a punchier brand of garage-y surfpunk comes to dominate the track after that first hypnotic minute. Lyrically, "Alien Beach Party" depicts a "private party" in which a group of multi-colored extraterrestrials slather themselves in Coppertone and "eat some hippies" while grooving to Jan and Dean.

Track 2. "Do You Have a Job For a Girl Like Me?" Layna Pogue presents listeners with a young woman who has "been in the State Hospital for seventeen weeks" and seeks "an easy job that won't be too much strain" to keep her off the streets and help pay for her Thorazine. Insisting that she doesn't "want to go on welfare" or "be a parasite," the girl initially sounds intent on finding employment (in language that sounds as if she buys into the social narrative deeming her somehow defective), but gradually emerges as an intentionally undesirable employee. Musically, the track abandons the slower, trippy sound of the A-side for a faster, more straight-forward punk feel, an aural development that fits the thematic shift from kitschy sci-fi to anti-social defiance.

Track 3. "Motivation Complex." Fast garage rock about youthful lethargy.

Sobriquet Grade: 80 (B-).

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