Fear’s THE RECORD never ceases to put a smile on my face. Whenever I am in a foul mood, a foul mood that is laced with anger rather than sadness or disappointment (which requires a different listening experience), I put on THE RECORD and I soon feel better.
THE RECORD is not an angry record in the way ENTERTAINMENT or the first Clash record are. It’s a tongue and cheek expression of frustration put to music that sounds like a ferocious animal in a poorly constructed cage that’s going to fall apart at any minute unleashing the beast (maybe on the last track Foreign Policy it does).
In addition to the tight meticulous playing, not a note out of place at breakneck speed, there is also quite clever social commentary. The line in Let’s Have a War “General Motors gets fat like last time” might make you laugh but it’s also a great summation of an ugly truth about capitalism and the Vietnam War. Foreign Policy is a primer on imperialism. Even the blatant dick joke song Beef Baloney has a nod to the blues in the intro.
The intro to Beef Baloney also shows one of Fear’s two strongest musical attributes – the incredibly powerful voice of Lee Ving whose megaton delivery is remarkable for how clear a singer he is. I can understand every word he says. The other weapon is drummer Spit Stix who is sort of a triple time anti-Keith Moon faster than Moon but without his sloppiness and every hit of the cymbal precise.
The last fifteen minutes of the documentary film THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION are one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. Ving and company baiting a room full of uptight Southern California skinheads. “We’re from Frisco” Ving keeps saying mimicking a homosexual (I believe he's trolling here). Finally, he’s attacked by a few audience members but easily pushes them aside. They then play three airtight versions of songs from THE RECORD. The performance has just as much bite, just as much violence, just as much power.