2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Punk classic , most surely not,
This review is from: Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (Audio CD)
The Dead Kennedys debut album Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables was originally released in September 1980 ( On Cherry Red records in the U.K., though it gained a later release on the bands own Alternative Tentacles label).Coming on the coat tails of the original punk movement- which had now morphed into post-punk the album showcased a harder edged hardcore tinged sound with genuinely political themes. It is in fact more a punk album in true punk attitude than just about any released during punks halcyon years.
The music is frenetic and loud but has a real songwriters nous behind the surf punk mayhem. It is not just a barrage of vociferous pummelling rhythms . The odd song apart this is a fiercely intelligent yet aggressive disembowelling of classic American AM rock. The playing too is incredible with Klaus Fluoride providing jet streamed fluid bass while the guitar of East Bay Ray, who also produced, is just sensational , especially on "Holiday In Cambodia" which in my humble opinion is one of the greatest guitar led tracks ever.What makes it even more impressive is the entire album was recorded live with the only additions being backing vocals, courtesy of various guests and some rhythm guitar.
Lyrically too, this is a tremendous album with Jello Biafra providing some of the most stringent satirical barbs ever committed to tape .It,s like Bill Hicks fronting Minor Threat.....or indeed The Dead Kennedys. Biafra lambastes the left and Governor Jerry Brown on "California Uber Alles", the right on "Kill The Poor" and the closeted middle class on "Holiday In Cambodia". Avarice and stupidity in society are lampooned mercilessly though the band are not above a bit stupidity themselves as their breathless cover of "Viva Las Vegas " proves. Biafra,s voice , like Johnny Rotten before him, is very distinctive with a tangible warble adding to the caustic sneer.
This special edition has an extra CD with different versions of "Kill The Poor" and "Holiday In Cambodia" which are,nt as good as the originals but still worth a listen. There is also the notorious and to be honest slightly asinine "Too Drunk To F**K". The other extra tracks are,nt that great but completists will no doubt be thrilled by their inclusion. The most striking aspect about this album , apart from the music of course, is that the very things that Jello Biafra is railing against are if anything even more prevalent today. A song like "Kill The Poor" has even more resonance in George W Bush,s America of 2008 than it did in 1980....same in Britain under New Labour(Though it may have to be amended to Tax The Poor).Which begs the question where are the contemporary bands with the same sense of outrage and indignation as The Dead Kennedys?