Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wasted Time: When It Was Fun (1996)

(As published in the Illinois Entertainer ... )

Wasted Time
When It Was Fun

Chris, Bunky, and Craig--the three Long Island punksters who comprise Wasted Time--have yet to reach the legal drinking age, and although statistics suggest they've probably gotten drunk a few dozen times by now anyway, their music doesn't show it. It shows instead the benefits of digging, as these boys admit to having done, "typical '80s metal" before digging "East-Bay punk"--of honing one's hook craft, in other words, on Def Leppard and Poison before going for the metallic K.O. with nothing but overcranked amps. As a result, big crisply pounded-out hooks abound. "Graduation," "Heathcliff," "Bachelor #1," "Thursday," and the instant classic "Shut Up!!" get the disc off to such a rip-roaring start that even their all-ages punk version of Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl" (well-placed "Oi!" and all) sounds earned rather than capricious. Of course, round about tracks ten, eleven, twelve, and thirteen, the album’s title begins to sound like a reference to tracks one through nine, after which the producer probably should've drawn the line and thus preserved this raucous debut in a more fat-free form.

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