welcome back to the Skaject folks! we’re doing something a bit different than normal today. under normal circumstances, i try follow the trajectory of a band from an “average” fan’s perspective – if something like an EP is regional and not known to wider audiences until the tracks are collected on a record, i’ll wait to review until the record, for example. today’s record is a situation where i’ll do things a bit differently.

Dance Hall Crashers was formed in 1989 by Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman, coming off of their time in Operation Ivy. they left the band shortly after it was formed, but the rest of the folks in the band kept releasing music, including today’s release, until they decided to call it quits in 1992. they got together for a reunion show in 1991, and had a strong enough reaction that they got back together. The Old Record (1989 – 1992), released in 1993 after a few years of touring, collects the self-titled indie record they put out before they first broke up, as well as some other singles they put out at the time. i’ll primarily be looking at the parts of the compilation that were on that 1990 Dance Hall Crashers record, but i’ll talk a bit about the other tracks and the compilation as a whole. let’s dig in!

Dance Hall Crashers opens with Pick Up Lines, a silly track about getting pick up lines at a bar. i think this is a fun track for sure. Blind Leading the Blind takes a very strong tonal shift, talking about ignorance and capitalism – i dig this one too, haha. it’s not perfect but i think it’s heart is in the right place. My Problem was the big hit off this record, and yeah this track slaps. a break-up song, i think the chorus absolutely shines here, the bridge shows off some really fun horns and guitar solos, and the track has a really fun attitude to it overall. the next song in the original track list, Time to Ease Up, features a different vocalist and isn’t included in The Old Record – speculation seems to indicate that this may not have been included due to some issues with this vocalist, though i think it’s an interesting track to slot in here in that original release. Street Sweeper is a weird, fun little track about a criminal, the seventh street gangster, escaping the cops – im not fully certain i know what’s going on here but it’s a fun track, haha. State of Mind plays in a similar space as Blind Leading the Blind – again, they really nail it with the chorus on this track. Keep On Running is a pretty strong song but didn’t make a huge impression on me. not gonna lie, Java Junkie absolutely kicks ass musically, but i’m not really fond of the chorus lyrically, which becomes a huge part of the song in the second half. i don’t even have a huge reason, it just doesn’t sit right with me, yknow? i could probably get over it but i didn’t in the few listens for this review. Old and Grey’s fine. Babushka’s a mellower little instrumental track. i like this one. Truth Hurts is a track to take someone down a peg – p nice. Better Than Anything is another song about a jerk, this time a two-timer. another solid song. DHC is a bit of a band anthem – i really like this one, it’s a bit of a chaotic mess, haha.

faves – Pick Up Lines, Blind Leading the Blind, My Problem, State of Mind, Babushka, DHC
dislikes –

this is honestly an incredibly impressive collection of tracks for a debut record, haha. a lot of really really strong hooks, some excellent performances across the band, and some lyrics that are quite strong throughout, though juvenile in places. ive listened to a bit of DHC later in their career, and i can absolutely see how folks bringing this energy would get a strong fan reaction, enough to get pulled out of a break up. i kinda feel like this wants to be closer to the closer, the way that Better Than Anything is, not right before their most impactful song in the collection.

Dance Hall Crashers – 8/10

for the other tracks included on The Old Record

Othello kicks off the collected version of the record, and i can absolutely see why – they really bring their all in the intro for this song. one of the best on the collection. Nuisance is aight. North Pole i think is meant to be a little tongue in cheek and funny, but i think it fully loops back around and gets a little sad. He Wants Me Back feels like they’re doing a doo-wop song, haha. i kinda dig it. Skinhead BBQ is aight. interesting song to leave after Better Than Anything. Fight All Night is aight – a bit repetitive lyrically but there’s some fun stuff musically. i know it’s intended to be sarcastic but it’s fun to imagine it as a silly hatefucking song.

faves – Othello
dislikes –

on the whole, this shifts around the order of the Dance Hall Crasher tracks slightly (namely, moving My Problem to the front of the run of tracks from that record) and splits off DHC to stay the closer (the correct decision)- i’m not sure i have strong feelings about the sequencing (other than DHC at the end), but i think you definitely do feel the extra 20 minutes. that may be a result of the fact that i’m not personally a huge fan of many of the added songs, though, so your mileage may vary.

The Old Record – 6/10

next up it’s The Toaster’s 1990 release, This Gun For Hire.

support the band by checking this release out on Bandcamp!

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