youthful energy

Assorted Jelly Beans (Kung Fu)
Assorted Jelly Beans

By Ray Rizzo

Onetime Clash member Mick Jones has given his full support to new artists emerging with the sound of his old band. The Clash, he said, left off headed in directions that are still worth pursuing. The well isn't dry.

So if he doesn't mind, I don't either.

This brings us to Assorted Jelly Beans' self-titled release. They are a young band, quick and honest about their punk/ska roots, who play it longer, tighter, and harder than 95% of the bands alive today. And they mean what they say, which for now has little to do with "Police on My Back" and everything to do with "8th Grade Nerd." The punk ethic hasn't changed, it has just been re-aimed at the oppression of the suburban teenager:

Fuck the Moral Majority

We'll be what we want to be

Don't try so hard to fit your religion

Be yourself, let your life begin

And that's because (YEAH)

Fuck you Mr. Narrow Mind . . .

*

Assorted Jelly Beans possess more than the weight of adolescent consciousness and a good sense of humor. They are keepers of an insanely powerful musical force, who rise to the challenge of recording their obviously live-inspired material. The result hits with a musical fist that is uncommon for musicians young enough to have a credit for "band taxi" on their album.

By the end of the album, the only weakness of A.J.B. is the simple redundancy of too few formulas, due to an over-faithfulness to the parameters of the tradition they have sharpened their teeth on.

But this band is young, and they are a band. If they proceed with their honesty and joy intact, exhibiting some self-examination as they grow, Assorted Jelly Beans could redefine their genre and save us from artists who embrace punk nostalgia and try to pass it off for today's buzz. Music and the world have changed since The Clash, and there are broader steps that this band is capable of.