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Mental Blocks for All Ages

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Album Review

There's something in the accessibly deconstructive sound of the Dog Faced Hermans that's both immediately likeable and long-term gratifying — their combinations of scratchy guitar work, liberal use of horns and other instruments uncommon in rock, and ultra-political vocal rants fall somewhere between very angular neo-punk and the most experimental sides of new wave, but in a fashion that's more likely to engage than distance the listener. Mental Blocks for All Ages' tight performance and groovy, rhythmic construction fit perfectly with the sharpness of their free-form guitar attack and political commentary, recalling everything from the Scissor Girls to the Family Fodder's more aggressive side. The band rampages through compositions so fiercely and effectively that the record lives up to its fractured, deconstructive ambitions. An excellent release.

Customer Reviews

Awesome record. And mr. reviewer dude, DFH predates the Scissor Girls, FYI ;)

Whoever uploaded this late 80's slice of art-punk awesomeness to itunes, I must say to you, personally: thank you. And thank the Dog Faced Hermans for being a band of utmost artistic integrity, creativity, balls, and passion. They always were abstract (even occasionally flat-out bizarre) without being silly, and extremely poignant without being didactic. I got this on CD ages ago and wondered if the world would ever once again have easy access to DFH's pre-Alternative Tentacles releases. Hearing "Supressa" on the radio for the first time at age 18 blew me away, and it has not lost any of its power - nay, even become more so - in all these years, as the lyrics and music & what they are trying to communicate in tandem with eachother is even clearer to me now. And "The Body Strategic" has one of the most menacing and effective uses of a blast beat (!) in any record I can think of...keep in mind this was still the late 80's, to boot. But, this isn't about nostalgia. This band is distinctly modern in their sound and in fact, in my opinion, make most of the more recent (and often more proggily calculated/less punkishly visceral) bands operating in the "neo no wave" category sound totally limp and clumsy in comparison. I feel that Dog Faced Hermans got consistently better with each release, but even their earliest sides showed a musical and conceptual maturity that is undeniable. Just download this if you're a fan of music that is good - One with amazing musicianship, top notch lyrics, unique arrangements. Flat out good. Not perfect (none of their albums truly were, though I always thought that if they had survived into the late 90's they might have reached even higher plateus... Oh well). Cheers.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Orchestral instruments, including viola, trumpet, and saxophone, were combined with such oddities as hippo tube and foghorn to create the ultra-loud post-punk sounds of the Dog Faced Hermans. Although the group disbanded in 1995, the members of the Dog Faced Hermans remain active. Bass guitarist and steel drum player Colin McLean worked with Pere Ubu vocalist David Thomas before become a full-time sound engineer for the Ex. Guitar, hippo tube, and viola player Andy Ex went on work with the Ex, Kletka...
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Mental Blocks for All Ages, Dog Faced Hermans
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