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Wig Out At Denko's

Dag Nasty

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Album Review

One album later and literally half of Dag Nasty's lineup had changed. Doug Carrion took over on bass, being just as competent — though not otherwise as distinguished — as his predecessor Roger Marbury, while Dave Smalley was also gone, to be replaced by the lyrically similar-minded Peter Cortner. The latter's singing is rather more ragged than Smalley's sometimes blunter work, but the fact that he's not trying to simply ape Smalley actually helps make him much more distinct as a result. Both use speaking as part of their delivery, and Cortner's thinner voice actually suits the fragility of his lyrics quite well, arguably proving just that more effective than Smalley's approach, which sometimes sounded challenging even while pondering personal issues. Brian Baker's still doing a good job all-around on guitar; if anything stretching himself further at creating true anthems for the disaffected, feeling big and heroic while still embracing punk's simplicity, as the fantastic title track shows. There's even more in the way of soloing, which usually ends up serving each song's drive rather than being a showcase for wanking around. Admittedly, once or twice Baker indulges in some fret-bending flash that uncomfortably signals where he'd end up with the horrible Junkyard, but happily, that approach doesn't dominate. The opening cut, "The Godfather," is a perfect pairing of his talent and Cortner's, with a chorus that rises just enough as the latter wonders how he can truly get in touch with the one he loves. Then there's "When I Move," which completely goes against the grain by only having Cortner and Baker on the track — the latter simply performing acoustic guitar! Colin Sears keeps up the steady drum work from the first album, while the production, though at points a touch less crisp than on Can I Say, still lets everything on Wig Out at Denko's come through nice and strong. [The 2002 reissue contains seven bonus tracks.]

Biography

Formed: 1985

Genre: Alternative

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

Dag Nasty kept roaring D.C.-styled hardcore alive during the mid-'80s. Although the group was more accessible and melodic than Minor Threat, it never lost its bracing, blistering edge. Formed by former Minor Threat and Meatmen guitarist Brian Baker and ex-DYS vocalist Dave Smalley, Dag Nasty recorded their first album, Can I Say (1986), with D.C.-punk guru Ian MacKaye assisting on the production. The following year, Smalley left the group; he was replaced by Peter Cortner, who added more pop elements...
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Wig Out At Denko's, Dag Nasty
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