Def American Records, 1982

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


How many people would have heard of Flipper had the late Kurt Cobain not mentioned them as one of his musical influences?

Too bad Cobain's not here anymore. I'd like to slap him silly for bringing this band back into the forefront. Once best known for the drug overdose death of bassist/vocalist Will Shatter, this band seemed fated to remain in obscurity. But once Cobain opened Pandora's box, not only did their earlier catalog get re-released, but the band got back together to record even more sewage.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Their 1981 debut, Generic, has about as much charm to it as a cattle prod in the back. Each instrument seems to want to go in its own direction, and the vocals are more shouted than verbalized. If you are a fan of riffs being repeated over and over again ad nauseam, then have I got the album for you.

I guess things don't start off that terribly with "Ever," an angst-filled number which poses numerous questions to the listener. The problem with Flipper early on is that they sound like a garage band who have been left alone in a recording studio after maybe two practice sessions, and are allowed to bang away for as long as they want.

The drone of the repetitious chords hits bottom on numbers like "(I Saw You) Shine" and the totally depressing "Sex Bomb," which features saxophone work that sounds like it came from a Mothers Of Invention session courtesy of Ian Underwood. Problem is, this isn't so much music as it is an orgasm of cacophony - or is that "ca-ca"?

Shatter gets his turns in front of the microphone - in maybe the only bright spot on the whole album, his vocal style sounds a bit like a thrash group I like, Life Sentence. (Anyone remember them?) But the same story happens when he's in charge of the band. "Shed No Tears" falls into the same trap of repetition.. (click)... repetition... (click) ... repitition... (click)...

I would have been able to stomach the roughness of Flipper's sound a bit more had there been some more variety to the music. Even at Nirvana's worst, they were able to inject new musical paths into the songs, making things a little more bearable. This is the musical equivalent to having a root canal without Novacaine; by the end of the album, I was ready to claw my eyeballs out.

Generic is an album that appears to be mercifully out of print. If the powers that be are smart, they'll leave it there this time.

Rating: F

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Def American Records, and is used for informational purposes only.