Review: Angered Wrecks ‘Bennies, Booze And R&R 1981’

Hailing from Fredericton, the capital of the Canadian province of New Brunswick we have the frankly terribly named Angered Wrecks who comprised of Mark Carmody – guitar, Danny Silk – bass, Rick Thompson – drums, and John Westhaver on vocals. If you’ve never encountered them don’t be surprised, they existed predominantly around the early 80s, or 1981 to be more precise. Musically the promo-notes promise ‘the freaked-out punked up soul of The Stooges and MC5 mix that with 60s garage trash, blend in Sabbath, AC/DC and heavy rock n roll’, all very promising but does it deliver?

Angered Wrecks 'Bennies, Booze And R&R 1981'

Fuck You can be seen as laying ground down for the likes of GG Allin, The Jabbers, and Antiseen, snotty and expletive laden it makes for a fine opener. Fans of Canadian hardcore/punk legends D.O.A will find some satisfaction in Headbanger, a track which recalls that band’s Joey Shithead’s Johnny Rotten influenced vocal sneer as well as breakneck speed. Slowing down the album is a decent cover of The Dead Boys I Need Lunch that unfortunately served as a foreshadowing of what was to come with the musical aberration of the ‘hair metal’ scene on the juvenile lyrical front.

Next is a version of The Stooges Shake Appeal which may be due to the rough production feeling a little lifeless and flat, whereas the original fizzed and popped. Another cut comes from the Raw Power album in the form of I Need Somebody with a bit more of a 60s garage rock twist injected into proceedings. Not a patch on the Nebula cover but not half bad either. The Monkees Steppin’ Stone has more of a psych influence while The MC5’s Shakin’ Street contains a more reserved bluesy/hard rock ‘n’ roll approach akin to AC/DC.

A cover of a cover, The Clash’s Brand New Cadillac will stick most in the mind of a lot of listeners but the Angered Wrecks interpretation shouldn’t be totally disregarded either when listening to the rockabilly classic. Burnout stands out for me and recalls the awesome twisted experimental prog-punk that would later feature on albums by SST bands such as Black Flag and Painted Willie.

Angered Wrecks were in essence kind of building on what New Yorkers The Dictators were doing a few short years before in crossing over punk/hard rock…

Early The Replacements at their least polished and most chaotic is the vibe to be found on Doserino. Like The ‘Mats during those years, Angered Wrecks sound positively unhinged and close to collapse at any point. More of this please guys! Unfortunately, the obligatory The Stooges cover comes in with Search And Destroy and is really quite uninspired. The Dead Kennedys Too Drunk To Fuck soon salvages things again and is charming and buzzing with youthful exuberance.

Another Detroit rock legend makes an appearance with Alice Cooper’s You Drive Me Nervous from the awesome Killer album and the band definitely gets props from me for covering one of the deeper cuts on that record (Alice rarely features it in his live set). The pop hit (co-written by Paul Simon) Red Rubber Ball in Angered Wrecks hands is given a quite pleasant new wave/power-pop/punk sheen while the bands metallic influences shine through on the Black Sabbath classic Fairies Wear Boots with which they conclude the album on a distinctly heavier note.

Angered Wrecks were in essence kind of building on what New Yorkers The Dictators were doing a few short years before in crossing over punk/hard rock. In Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk by Sam Sutherland, frontman Westhaver talks about how the band were ‘definitely more dedicated to fucking with people’s minds live’, and the record (though very patchy) documents this aspiration with aplomb.

Label: Cardinal Fuzz Records | Feeding Tube Records

Scribed by: Reza Mills