Album Reviews

Venom P. Stinger: 1986-1991(Drag City)

venompstinger

Venom P. Stinger was an Australian punk rock band that existed from 1986 to 1991. Drag City’s seen fit to reissue the band’s entire back catalog. It’s a labor of love, especially considering the relative obscurity of the group. As Australian punk rock goes, Venom P. Stinger fit in quite nicely with contemporary bands such as The Scientists, Feedtime, and Lubricated Goat. Their trashy, gritty, dirty sound also recalls perhaps the most famous Australian punk band, The Birthday Party. It’s not without a twist of irony that said influence is mentioned, because what makes this band rise out of obscurity is that two of their member went on to form Dirty Three, and would later be engulfed by the sprawling collective that has become Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

If you’re looking for quiet, gorgeous, and haunting violin-laden instrumental rock, you aren’t gonna find it here because the musical highlight of Venom P. Singer was not Mick Turner‘s guitar or Jim White‘s percussion. That distinction belongs to Dugald McKenzie, lead singer. He rants and raves and rambles and screams on throughout the twenty-nine songs found on 1986-1991. While not everything on this collection is a masterpiece, some moments are quite enjoyable, such as the brooding “What’s Yours is Mine,” the ranting “Dear God,” and the Mudhoney-like “26 mg.” The rest of the material found here falls nicely in with what other bands were doing, such as Mudhoney, Jesus Lizard, Gaunt, and Social Distortion.

Venom P. Stinger effectively ended when Dugald simply stopped showing up. Luckily for Turner and White, they’d just met a bloke named Warren Ellis

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