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Listen Up: Wednesday, December 19, 2002

Louder Than Morrissey (End Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

The latest release from the label run by teen-age Fort Worth record mogul Jonathan Gill is the third offering from veteran Dallas punk band Darlington.

Fronted by a young man who goes by the moniker Christy Brigitte Darlington and who expresses thanks in the slick notes to “God and His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Darlington plays punk rock for people whose idea of “old-school” punk extends further back than Blink 182 — uh, none of whose records I actually own, although I think my youngest daughter has one — and Green Day. Since their last outing, 1999’s Mess You Up, bassist Angelique Congleton has decamped for the greener (har, har) pastures of L.A.’s Hangmen (kind of a poor man’s Lazy Cowgirls). She’s on about half the songs here; various studio subs handle the four-string chores on the rest of the disc, and yet another guy does the duty live.

Having heard more than my share of shitty punk records over the years, I was not thrilled at the prospect of listening to one more. I needn’t have worried. Louder Than Morrissey (bonus points go to Darlington for the title) has the astringent sound made famous by two-minute heroes like the Ramones and the Buzzcocks. What you get here is lotsa clever, hook-laden songwriting, buzzsaw guitars, four-on-the floor drums, and serviceable vocals. The subject matter is similar to that of the Forest Hills bruddaz — gurls (“Gisele & Me,” “Gretchen,” “Karen Elson,” “Bowling Betty,” “Picabo Street,” etc.), dumb fun, and the occasional stab at social commentary (“Boobs, Boobs, Boobs,” “Joe Queer Sucks”).

You can almost forgive ‘em the Olivia Newton-John cover. But it would’ve been a better idea to put the interminable interview with Josh from the Adventure Club at the end, so you wouldn’t have to skip through it to hear the last song.

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