We’ve all had a bad case of rock envy. At some point in our younger lives we’ve plopped a mop head on our head, strummed a broom like we meant business, and proceeded to strut around the house like we were David Lee Roth or Mick Jagger. The rare few of us see our fantasy sessions as training, and after years of application sublimate their reverential energy into doing their own thing. The flipside of the equation is that there are some people who never break out of their basement imitations and somehow make a running gig out of it. Terry Malts is a band perpetually stuck in that basement.
The inclination towards imitation is understandable, since it comes with the feeling of somehow laying our sonic laurels on the altar of the memory of the great ones who came before us. The fact is though we already had one Joey Ramone. Do we really need another one? Terry Malts answers with an emphatic yes, and delivers up 14 tracks of imitation Ramones in the form of their latest aptly-named release, Killing Time. Heavy fuzz, reverb, and a handful of distortion attempt to recreate the poor equipment of a bygone era, and to add insult to injury, they attempt to incorporate a late-50’s doo wop dancehall sound into their songs, giving Killing Time the feel of Buddy Holly awakening dazed onstage at CBGB’s. It’s inoffensive, it’s poppy and it’s catchy. But is that what we really listen to punk rock for?
That punk rock has strayed very far from it’s roots in righteous rage is an obvious fact. Even the Clash were able to acknowledge the duplicity of being a punk band playing a stadium. But is punk really beyond saving? Listening to Killing Time, the answer seems to be a grim yes.