Monday, December 6, 2010

The Hillstreet Stranglers - 'Imaginary Baggage EP'

Hailing from San Diego, Calif., the Hillstreet Stanglers love the shit out of Dead Kennedys and Circle Jerks. As evidenced by their EP Imaginary Baggage, the group does its best to ape California punk acts of yesteryear.

While a little too slow to truly run with Keith Morris, the band does a decent DK tribute. Vocalist/bassist Dick Strangler does a good Jello Biafra impression, warbles and all, and the band even sprinkles in a little bit of surf guitar on the title track. The best I can say about this EP is DK enthusiasts can finally get some new DK tunes.

But that just means Hillstreet Stranglers are a tribute band that doesn’t play the hits. They’re solid at what they do, but they don’t exactly leave much of an original impression. The EP’s five tracks slip by in 12 minutes without much differentiation. It’s all bash, crash and rehash. I’m not going to write the band off entirely, but the Hillstreet Stranglers need to find some new influences, or maybe even try to discover their own musical identity if they’re up to the task.

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