The Young Pioneers
Free The…. (Lookout!)
by Jon Sarre
These humorless pinko-punkers are often ultra-listenable and occasionally great, but that’s only if I ignore their radical socialist “message.” Once I start flippin’ through the lyric sheet and takin’ in the soapbox stompin’, the (Young) Pioneers‘ Woody Guthrie meets Youth Brigade attempted proselytization of the lumpen punks induces my middle finger to side with the reactionary forces of counter-revolution and turn the damn thing off. That’s just one of my prejudices tho’. Some people have no problem with the hardcore intelligentsia of the world tellin’ ’em who to denounce when the revolution arrives (incidentally, is Lookout Records really the best vehicle with which to, as singer/guitarist Adam “Stackolee” Payson says, “electrify the violence-prone elements of the Pioneers’ own audience and redirect them”?).
Bleed out the rhetoric, however, and ya got Payson’s distorted rasp creeping out of the speakers, usually in a mutter ya gotta try real hard to understand. His guitar and Martin Violence’s bass make a Hegelian stew of punk, ska and decidedly (reactionary?) honky-skronk country whilst drummer/percussionist Fred LaPier ruthlessly purges the organization of anti-rockist tendencies with some glorious workers’ stompatude. Their covers of Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions’ “Meeting Over Yonder” and (Impatient) Youth’s “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” are obviously fruits of the struggle and even the most oppressed of the masses’ll dig their plagarization of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall” (“We Ain’t Even Married”). “Downtown Tragedy,” “Seven Days In May” and “Alarms and Sirens” are true Clashian (but not in a rip-off sorta way) examples of the good which comes from subverting the individual for the benefit of all and just sorta rockin’ out. All hail the shining epoch of Free the (Young) Pioneers Now!
(PO Box 11374 Berkeley, CA 94712)