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The Pricks 

Slightly out of Focus EP (rubbercityrecords@yahoo.com)

The Pricks broke up in 1998, just after the Akron hardcore legends recorded this newly released EP, which sounds like it was written in 1984 and looks like it too: The powder-blue 7-inch lacks all the conventions that hardcore has accumulated over 20 years. With no agenda, the lyrics to "Suit and Tie" and "Lame Brain" don't get much deeper than "I don't care what you think/You're so fucking lame." And that's a good thing.

Most of the disc is raw circle-pit punk, but it has some surprisingly sophisticated moments: A love letter to the Rubber City, "Main Street," begins with a soft-strum intro, and its sandpaper melodies stand next to bar-rock punk from the Dropkick Murphys, Rancid, and the Pogues. (The Pricks cover Shane MacGowan's "Woman's Got Me Drinkin'" here, and look for a cover of Sham 69's "Borstal Breakout" on the upcoming Pricks Anthology). Closing with an instrumental track, this little dose of Pricks is a great tease, but too short to satisfy. That's a good thing too.

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