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Maximum Overdrive

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Album Review

A reordered expansion and re-release of the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs' first album, 1997's Overdrive, Maximum Overdrive handily outstrips its earlier incarnation as a blast of trashy garage punk with a definite nod to the old school. This can be seen as much through their covers and collaborations as their own tracks. Among the previously single-only cuts that now appear on this version are both sides of their Radio Birdman remake single ("Do the Pop" and "More Fun") with Deniz Tek himself, as well as a cover of the Runaways' "Cherry Bomb" with Cherie Currie taking lead vocals. Then there's the pretty damn good cover of the Dictators' "Faster and Louder," the Dead Boys' "Ain't Nothin to Do," and so forth — about the only thing missing would be a vintage 1975-era smudgy photo from the Creem archives. Overdriven soloing on "Freak Out Man" and general frenetic mania on "Turn Me Down" don't go wrong, while another welcome "new" number is "Burn Silver Lake Burn," a middle finger to L.A.'s rock scenester suburb central of recent years. Bandleader Frank Meyer has a by turns thoughtful, hilarious, and a little self-righteous essay printed (the latter mostly for his somewhat overdone attempt to claim being the first among the neo-garage revivalists of recent years — something that might work if the genre wasn't being constantly revived anyway). At the same time, he's humble when he doesn't need to be when talking about the more poppy moments like the sparkling "All I Want" and "Peppermint," the latter of which could almost be a Nirvana parody projected a little bit backward in time and getting away with it.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Punk revivalists the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs formed in Los Angeles in 1995, the group — singer/guitarist Frank Meyer, guitarist Art Jackson, bassist Dino Everett and drummer Mike Sessa — taking their cues from the protean noise of bands like the Stooges (from whose "Search and Destroy" they also copped their name) and the MC5. Renowned for their ferocious live shows, the quartet issued their debut album Heart Full of Napalm on Alive in 1996, returning a year later with Overdrive; later...
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Maximum Overdrive, Streetwalkin' Cheetahs
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