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What Is Real and What Is Not

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Album Review

A quarter century after flushing out their first two, oft-praised EPs, L.A.'s Urinals finally get around to dropping their first long-player, What Is Real and What Is Not. Now consisting of founding drummer Kevin Barrett, bassist John Talley-Jones, and new guitarist Roderick Barker, the resuscitated band sounds as fierce as ever on the freeway fantasy "I Make Love to Every Woman on the Freeway" and the energetic, pulsing opener "Teach Me to Crawl Again." Mental illness peers out of the musically sparse "In Praise of the F****d-Up Girl," but the disc's absolute best songs — like "Skygrifter" and "Let a Little Dark into Your Heart" — balance an infectious charge with deeply insightful lyrics. Like the recently revived Mission of Burma, the Urinals are still a thinking man's punk band — but one with the good sense to unearth and bastardize an old Bee Gees B-side for fun ("Jumbo") when they're not channeling the gods of new wave on "Cartophilia." ~ John D. Luerssen, Rovi


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Los Angeles punks the Urinals formed in a UCLA dormitory in 1978. The group's original five-piece lineup consisted of vocalist Delia Frankel, guitarist Steve Willard, bassist John Talley-Jones, organist Kjehl Johansen, and drummer Kevin Barrett, but after making their public debut at a campus talent show, Frankel and Willard exited over creative differences. Johansen switched to guitar, and the remaining trio soldiered on, teaching themselves a sufficient number of rudimentary notes and chords to...
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What Is Real and What Is Not, Urinals
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