Wake Up Dead – The Disconnects (Baldy Longhair)
The spirit of New York City’s Lower East Side (circa 1979) is alive and well and living under the nom de plume The Disconnects in Neptune City, New Jersey.
In many respects that’s good to know because in these horrifyingly gentrified times, it couldn’t exist any longer in safe and antiseptically clean Manhattan. Even its neighbour, Brooklyn, has become respectable. New York Punk (the Heartbreakers variant) was swept under the carpet years ago - so good on The Disconnects for flying that ragged flag.
On the other hand, The Disconnects don’t have anything startlingly new to say. Now, that may not be such a bad thing. Musical genres fade in and out and the Dead Boys had nowhere different to go by the time they disappeared under the combined weight of emasculated studio production and mainstream disinterest with the ill-fated “We Have Come For Your Children” album. That probably makes The Disconnects even more of an anachronism - and I’ll bet they couldn’t give a shit.
Straight-up punk rockers like “Demolition Heart”, the false start “She’s a Fink” and snarling “Wake Up Dead” are as good as far they go, but it’s when The Disconnects mix it up with glam and ‘50s touches that the going gets interesting. Like the rubbery bass-line and the twin-guitar ramalama on “E=MC5” or the Dolls-ish “Kills Me Sick”, where Ryan Switzer's bittersweet vocals and a curtain of glam guitar chords elevate proceedings to a different level.
There’s a genuine grimy ballad in “I Don’t Mind” and a snotty love toon “For Mindy” that sounds, at first, like it’s over-reaching, but works well in the end. “I Wanna Be In Uganda” might cop its theme from the Dead Kennedys (and references the Pistols on the way through) but that’s Billy Rath’s bass-line sitting there underneath.
Production quality varies from track to track because there’s a sprinkling of demo and live cuts thrown in. “Wake Up Dead” is released on vinyl, download and cassette – the latter formats with 10 bonus tracks.
Fun, fun, fun in the warm and probably smoggy New Jersey sun.