Zero Boys: Vicious Circle CD review (Shockhound)

(5 out of 5)

Let’s just get this right out of the way: “Civilization’s Dying” and “Livin’ in the ’80s” are two of the best punk songs ever recorded and, in all probability, VICIOUS CIRCLE is one of the ten best front-to-back punk albums of the ’80s. It’s really that simple, and it should be as readily accepted as the fact that Pistols-Clash-Ramones is the Holy Punk Trinity. But for whatever reason, the Indianapolis-based Zero Boys – like dozens of other “regional” punk sensations – never really got the widespread acclaim they deserved. Threading a strong melodic sensibility through their full-velocity punk rock, the Zero Boys owed a considerable debt to hardcore titans like the Big Boys, as well as the pop sensibility of the Ramones (see the proto-New Wave “Trying Harder”) and a sense of humor picked up from local legends the Gizmos. There’s a concision that defines all of these songs’ structures, resulting in lethally effective pop-punk that’s as catchy as it is forceful. Combine that with surprisingly decent lyrics (a true rarity in ’80s punk) and a direct clarity to the recordings, and it becomes that much more puzzling why this gem of an album has been impossible to find for so long. Whatever the reason, this beautifully remastered reissue is long overdue, and along with the compilation disc HISTORY OF, one can only hope that the Zero Boys are finally given their rightful due. \

First appeared Jan. 30, 2009 at Shockhound.

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