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Society Is a Carnivorous Flower

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Album Review

J Church's Austin, TX lineup makes its official debut with this long-player for Gainesville, Florida's No Idea imprint. They pick up where 2003's split with Storm the Tower left off, with David DiDonato's second guitar adding another dynamic layer to Church brain Lance Hahn's already raucous SG and righteous, erudite, and awesomely cynical vocals. (Bassist Ben White and drummer Chris Pfeffer are no slouches, either.) Society Is a Carnivorous Flower begins with "Overconfident," a tingling, rousing number straight outta the early- '90s punk-pop zeitgeist (think: Poster Children). But J Church will likely hate this comparison if they read this, as the song itself is a typically correct Hahn evisceration of music geeks' obsession with elitism and rock history. "You worship Nico/You spit on Yoko," but "We are nothing more that all the things that came before." "Styrofoam" is Hahn's version of a love song, while the out of focus, melancholic indie of "210" tracks Our Singer's acceptance of inferiority to a tattooed cool guy. "Compared to your youthful wonder/I'm just four tracks and shitty rhymes." Yikes dude! Other highlights of the album include the Pavement-ish dis "Austin's Shitty Limits," as well as the 15-minute title track, which is actually a clanging thematic opera in the tradition of the Who, a punk revivalist serial that seems to draw parallels between the narrator's frustrated sexual desire and the failures of the class system. Catchy? Yes, as hell. But let it be said again — J Church's pop-ish melodies and punk footing don't make them devotees of the sugar-smack safety pin kids populating Warped Tour parking lots. Now go buy Lance Hahn a drink and make him feel better.


Formed: 1991 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Prolific San Francisco punk-pop trio J Church was formed in 1991 by singer/guitarist Lance Hahn and bassist Gardner Fusuhara, longtime friends who previously teamed in Cringer. Named in honor of a local bus route, the group went through a series of drummers before and after the 1993 release of their full-length debut, Quetzalcoatl; the album was quickly followed by Camels, Spilled Corona and the Sound of Mariachi Bands, a collection of early singles. Upon completing 1994's Prophylaxis, J Church added...
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Society Is a Carnivorous Flower, J Church
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