Drive Like Jehu

Yank Crime

Interscope Records

It may be a bit early to tout anything as the best album of 1994, but it's doubtful that anything over the next eight months or, for that matter, the next eight years can outdo Yank Crime, the second album from San Diego's Drive Like Jehu.

Anybody who was worried that the move to a major label would tone down Jehu need fear no more. If anything, Yank Crime is more twisted, raw and powerful than the 1991 debut album.

Drive Like Jehu take the Fugazi torch of innovative hardcore and move it about 20 miles past anything the D.C. kingpins have done. Rick Froberg still sounds like John Fogerty gone bad. Froberg and Reis' guitars still do pretty much anything their operators want them to, and Mike Kennedy's bass and Mark Trombino's drums still provide a solid backbone for the Jehu experience.

Yank Crime is noisy and chaotic but everything, every little note, has a purpose. The music never sounds directionless.

Want driving, relentless hardcore? "New Math" and "Golden Brown" will satisfy those urges. Melodic? "Do You Compute" and "Super Unison" hearken back to Froberg and Reis' days in Pitchfork. And for just plain twisted and dangerous, "Luau" sounds like a trip inside a serial killer's mind.

The album closes off with the nine-minute-plus "Sinews," which starts off slow and innocuous before exploding at unpredictable moments and winding down by repeatedly slamming the listener's head against the nearest wall. Amazing stuff.

Yank Crime pretty much renders all music that has come before irrelevant. This is the real thing. If you aren't listening to it, you'll be regretting it. -Greg D'Avis Read Next Article