Saturday, June 08, 2019

The Candy Snatchers - Moronic Pleasures

Lately I've been feeling the urge to revisit The Candy Snatchers. It's not that I think the band was at all overlooked back in its late '90s/early 2000s heyday. It's just that so much of what we made of Larry May and company always came down to how wild, chaotic, and flat-out incredible their live performances were. But even if you set the Snatchers' stage show aside and just focused on their studio releases, I'd say they ought to be remembered for producing some of greatest garage punk rock n' roll music ever committed to record. Their self-titled debut album from 1996 is an absolute classic of sleazy and destructive punk rock n' roll. Compared to a lot of similar albums of its time, I think it holds up far better. I can put it on today, and my immediate response is still "Holy shit!". This may have been as close as the '90s got to recreating Iggy and the Stooges - with echoes of the Dead Boys, Misfits, and New York Dolls thrown in for good measure. Subsequently, The Candy Snatchers went to Compactor Studio in Brooklyn in 1997 and tracked what was arguably an even better second LP. It was to be called Moronic Pleasures. And for reasons I still cannot fathom, these recordings were rejected. After a second failed attempt to make this album, the band re-recorded many of the same songs in New York with Dean Rispler in 1998. This became the second Candy Snatchers LP, Human Zoo. Human Zoo is a beast of a record in its own right, but it never sat right with Snatchers super-fan Jake Starr that Moronic Pleasures had gone unheard all of those years. He took upon the task of rescuing this unheard Candy Snatchers album, which he released digitally on his label Fandango two years ago. And now thanks to Hound Gawd! Records, Moronic Pleasures has finally been released on LP. If it hasn't crossed your mind to buy a Candy Snatchers record in a couple decades, this sure is the one to get!

Jake Starr sums it up perfectly: "Don't get me wrong. Human Zoo rocks like a motherfucker. But Moronic Pleasures as recorded at Compactor Studio is the Candy Snatchers at their zenith." If I were trying to explain the greatness of The Candy Snatchers to someone, I would just play them Moronic Pleasures. The band has never sounded rawer, wilder, or meaner than it does here. Larry May sounds like a freak of nature on lead vocals - wailing away as if he's starring in some sort of psychotic opera. The guitar work from Matthew Odietus (RIP) is straight out of the Johnny Thunders and James Williamson playbooks. And with then-new drummer Sergio Ponce pounding the kit, the "classic" era Candy Snatchers sound is in full force. 11 of the 19 songs captured here were re-recorded for Human Zoo, but by no means does that make the purchase of this album unnecessary. Signature tracks like "No Time To Waste", "Burn It To The Ground", and "Pissed Off, Ripped Off, Screwed" burn even hotter in their original form. And then there are eight more songs here that did not appear on Human Zoo. Fans will surely recognize songs like "Run You Down", "Ass Casserole", and the Stooges cover "Fresh Rag" from later Snatchers releases. They fit in perfectly here - creating a 19-track scorcher of an album that is your definitive Candy Snatchers long player.

Jake Starr knew what he was doing when he brought Moronic Pleasures back from the dead. And he did it right - securing the original masters from the Compactor sessions and enlisting Dennis Kane to mix and master the album. The "lost" classic second album from The Candy Snatchers is no longer mere legend or rumor. Thanks to Oliver at Hound Gawd!, it's an actual vinyl record that you can order today and soon play on your turntable. This record proves that no conversation of the greatest garage-punk rock n' roll bands of the '90s can exclude The Candy Snatchers. And with the band back and playing live shows with a new lineup featuring Johnny Yeagher on guitar and Doug "Goose" Duncan on bass, let's be sure not to limit The Candy Snatchers to the past tense!



Mark said...

what about this snotty pop punk new band

Greg said...

Yeah, great band, Mick. Josh reviewed them here on his blog back in early March.