Outside of Everything (ear Xtacy)
Cherub Scourge

By Bob Bahr

Cherub Scourge maintains its perfect string of good records with Outside of Everything, a punk record that tells the nouveau punks of the world a thing or two about how it's done properly.

The last two generations of punk bands forgot to put the humor in punk music— they're all catharsis and no irony. They instituted what could be called the Dark Ages of punk, a period where inner despair was wallowed in with the warped perspective of an adolescent, where social ills were solved by skanking and browbeating. Let it rest. And join in with Cherub Scourge as they sing about "Dave's Apartment," a place that's "Got the stuff you need / Just make sure that you wash your hands / The minute that you leave." It seems that Dave lets squatters and month-old pizzas rot in his hallways.

It's all great fun, more bubbly than Jolt cola and made of more powerful stuff. Listen to guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Brent Starkey give the news to a snobby girl: "l really wish that we could be / Part of your little clique/ But you're all so trendy and cute / It might make us sick." Ahhh, yes.

"Accident," written by bassist Rankin Mapother and guitarist Dave Hughes, proves that Cherub Scourge's lyrics don't have to be lighter than air. Messrs. Mapother and Hughes have some rather pointed things to say to a loser, has-been punk rocker: "In your druggy-stupored mind, you're just wasting my time / Why don't you go away? I don't want to watch your light fade"

Outside of Everything has one quality that automatically makes it good: It is brimming with electric energy. If Pink Floyd's music had a fraction of the energy that this band has, that little light gimmick in their last CD jewel box would have been powered for decades. Even when you can't understand who or what Starkey is skewering due to rowdy production and shouted lyrics, you still are driven to dance, head-bang and eat green glass by this spikey music.

Speaking of production, the bad news is that Outside of Everything has a fatal flaw: a recording level that is more uneven than a cardiogram. It casts a deadly pall over some songs with poor production and unwittingly uplifts lesser songs with clearer sound. But even if it were recorded with a boombox in a bathroom, the song "Do Something About Her" would be enchanting. Long live poppy punkers like Cherub Scourge!

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