The Dickies - All This And Puppet Stew
There are some events that occur so infrequently as to arouse great excitement in those who have been anxiously awaiting them. The Olympic Games. Total solar eclipses. National censuses....
But these all pale in comparison to the importance of what has occured recently.
A Dickie Event.
Anyone who has their previous album, 'Idjit Savant', will be aware of the concept of an event which takes place every 4 or 5 years. A new album by the clown princes of punk. Yes, there was a most excellent covers EP a couple of years ago, but what we've all been longing, yearning and patiently waiting for, has finally arrived.
Was it worth the wait? Well, this question is so easily answered, that I won't even bother wasting my time typing the three letters that indicate that it was indeed worth the wait. As usual, The Dickies have produced a collection of songs more infectious than a Bangkok hooker's undies.
And it opens with a rip-snorter. 'See My Way' is a great, straightforward rocker that immediately puts to sleep any concerns that the Dickies may be getting on a bit. It's also one of the few songs on the album where the lyrics are quite easy to pickup and will have you half-assedly attempting to mimic Philips' unique vocals within a couple of listens. Which brings me to my one disappointment with this album (I may as well get it out of the way right now) - No lyrics printed in the booklet (well, it's more an insert than a booklet). Granted, this is a minor gripe, but The Dickies are such fantastic lyricists that it seems a shame that many of the hilarious lines will go by undecoded and unappreciated.
'Keep Watchin' The Skies' is classic feelgood Dickies punk-pop at its best, but the true gem of the album is the first single 'Free Willy' - the heartbreaking story of a whale once famous, but now ignored by a cold and uncaring Hollywood. The ever so simple opening riff will have you hooked from the second it starts and Philips will reel you in the second he opens his mouth. If you don't believe me, drop by www.thedickies.com, and wait for the Flash animation to load.
As usual, no one is safe. Courtney Love, the Dalai Lama, and even Howdy Doody are the proud (well, they bloody well should be) subjects of some of the more hilarious lyrics on the album. But as usual, Philips and Lee have not sacrificed their music for the sake of a few witty lines.
Dickies fans may already be familiar with their hyper-energetic cover of The Weirdos' 'Nobody But Me', and 'My Pop The Cop', which sounds a heck of a lot like a cross between 'Cross-Eyed Tammy' (from Second Coming) and the Philips/Lee penned 'HIV' (from German band Gigantor's album 'Atomic!'). The album is rounded out with the very cool 'Marry Me, Ann', 'I Did It', 'It's Huge' (no, not a sequel to 'If Stuart Could Talk'), and yet another Dickies public service announcement, 'Sobriety'.
There is not one track on this album worthy of your player's 'Skip >' button - every one is a winner.
With the actual review out of the way, let me just make a plea to the antipodean Bwanamaniacs out there - Buy this album. Tell your friends (or friend, if you're not that popular) and get them to buy it themselves. It is of the utmost importance that we rally together, develop a strong Australian fanbase and give The Dickies a reason to tour our fine brown land.