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Answer the Phone, Dummy

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Album Review

After 14 years of dealing with the "drummer problem," Answer the Phone Dummy was the album where Fastbacks cheerfully decided to give up the fight, at least for a while; the disc's 15 songs are divided between six different percussionists borrowed from other bands, including Jason Finn (from the Presidents of the United States of America), Dan Peters (from Mudhoney), Mike Musburger (of the Posies), and Rusty Willoughby (from Flop, who also played on Fastbacks' previous long-player, Zucker). Perhaps due to the lack of a consistent rhythm section, Answer the Phone Dummy doesn't sound as solid and consistent as Zucker, the band's high-water mark at that time; while Kurt Bloch wrote a batch of great tunes (as usual), this set lacks a certain aural cohesion the pacing is inconsistent, with the album sometimes struggling to maintain a steady momentum. Answer the Phone Dummy is a good album from a great band, but beginners are advised to check out Zucker or The Question Is No instead.

Biography

Formed: 1981 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the few first-wave punk bands who not only survived to the end of the century but did so with their original sound and focus intact, Fastbacks were formed in Seattle, WA, by three high school friends, Kurt Bloch, Kim Warnick, and Lulu Gargiulo. Bloch and Warnick began playing guitar in high school while Gargiulo took lessons in classical guitar at age seven but never played rock & roll until joining the band (though photos she took at local rock shows caught Bloch's eye, sparking a friendship)....
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Answer the Phone, Dummy, Fastbacks
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