[sic] Magazine

The Angered Wrecks – Bennies, Booze And R&R 1981

No doubt about it, New Brunswick back in ’81 was way more kicking that most would imagine. A scorching proposition out of Fredericton, The Angered Wrecks (featuring a youthful John Westhaver of The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol) sounded like The Stooges and even had their very own Fun House squat to set up a full P.A. to entertain the local dropouts, recording these archival tapes with a single mic taped to the ceiling.

The problem isn’t the primitive fidelity; far from it in fact, Bennies, Booze And R&R burning like a dumpster fire, its capture made all the more urgent by that lonely mic. The problem certainly isn’t that The Angered Wrecks were as keen on hardcore, 60s garage and proto-metal as they were The Stooges either, a more exciting combination of influences you’re unlikely to find.

The problem is that despite being one hell of a party band, The Angered Wrecks had very few songs of their own (at least on this recording), offering up many spectacularly riotous versions of some of their contemporaries instead (Raw Power messily plundered three times over). There’s a louche take on the MC5’s “Shakin’ Street” too, The Clash’s “Brand New Cadillac given a hard-rock makeover with strangled guitars and honky-tonk wail. The wild boogie of “You Drive Me Nervous” is unhinged even by Alice Cooper standards, while The Monkees’ “Steppin’ Stone” is rendered unbelievably trashy with a mangling of the lyrics and some new, eyebrow-raising verses.

Along the way we also encounter original thrash stars D.O.A., chugging oi! punks Cockney Rejects, sleazy first-wavers The Dead Boys, a turbocharged incarnation of Dead Kennedys, and even a snotty working over of a 60s pop song originally by The Cyrkle. Harder to pin down or Angered Wrecks originals, grimy pub-rocker “Doserino” explodes with searching solos, while “Burnout” is a very satisfying doe of contemporary thrash nihilism.

It’s left to Black Sabbath to bring down the curtain, or more appropriately the walls, “Fairies Wear Boots” jammed out to hard-psych proportions, its punishing groove and grinding riffs the soundtrack to The Angered Wreck’s final show, during which the condemned building was literally kicked apart. Burning so intensely to the point of almost not existing at all, Bennies, Booze And R&R is a fascinating document, but in both a positive and negative sense it still feels out of place all these years later.

Best Track: “Burnout”

~Bennies, Booze And R&R 1981 is released on vinyl January 21st 2022 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube Records.~