Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Briefs: Sex Objects

Review # 63
Artist: The Briefs
Title: Sex Objects
Format: LP
Label: BYO Records
Year: 2004
Songs: 14

Sex Objects is the third LP by the Briefs, and, like their first LP which was the subject of the previous review to this one, it's a fun and bouncy record of '77 style punk tunes in the vein of Generation X, Eater, 999, the Jam, and so on. Musically, it's a little more developed and complex than the first record, with better use being made of having two guitars in the band. Lyrically, while there's plenty snotty and/or goofy songs that are more attitude than content (e.g. "So Stupid," "Antisocial" and the title track "Sex Objects"), there are also some songs that  make a stab at social commentary. This record was released the year that George W. Bush, the president who was (rightly) the most maligned by punk rockers since Ronald Reagan was re-elected, and songs like "Orange Alert," "No More Presidents," and even the sillier "Vitamin Bomb" clearly reflect that social context. The lyrics and music, then, are both a bit more mature than their first effort.

So in a lot of ways, this record is objectively better than Hit After Hit, which has left me sitting her playing the record and wondering why I don't like it as well. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine record, but I never even got around to buying it--it's another one of the records I got from my friend Tim when he moved to NYC and abandoned his record collection. I've given it some thought this morning and I think I've figured it out. This record has more lyrical depth and musical complexity, but the fact is, that's just not what I ever wanted from the Briefs. The reason their first album was so great was that it was just so much fun to bounce around to. It was stripped down and basic and didn't make you think. It captured the simplicity that made the first records by many of the first wave of British punk bands fun and different from the lumbering dinosaurs of '70s rock that punk rock put out to pasture. Make no mistake, Sex Objects is still a fun and enjoyable record, but it lacks that primal feeling of "who cares, let's just play some fast music" that characterized the first LP. Probably if I heard Sex Objects for the first time in the year 2012, and then heard Hit After Hit for the first time shortly afterward, I'd think Sex Objects was the better LP. But as I mentioned in the last review, the Briefs' first record was the right record at the right time in the Seattle music scene and its simplicity and devil-may-care attitude was part of that.

Lest you should think I don't like this record, let me be clear: this is a fine record and I enjoy listening to it. If you like '77 style punk, this is worth having in your collection. Check out the title track "Sex Objects" and decide for yourself.

Total songs listened: 789

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