Poster Children for a Fading Grunge Scene

Poster Children - DDD
(spinART Records)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)

By Tony Bonyata

Six full-length albums and thirteen years after their inception, Champaign, Illinois' Poster Children are still at - churning out blaring, punkish rock as if grunge rock had never died.
With all that was right with early '90s alternative rock - dirty guitars, snotty attitude and lethal pop hooks - the Poster Children continue to spit out strong albums that stand tall in their punk / alt-rock boots, kicking aside current trends and passing fads in music.
Led by Rick Valentin (vocals and guitars) and Rose Marshack (bass and backing vocals) along with guitarist Jim Valentin and drummer Howie Kantoff, the Poster Children have released their latest sonic assault entitled DDD, which shows no signs of the boys conceding to a changing musical landscape. From the amphetamine-driven opening of "This Town Needs A Fire" with Valentin's angst-ridden chorus melding perfectly with Marshack's cheeky harmonies through the last schizo-instrumental "Peck N' Paw", with its wall of multi-textured guitars, they have produced one of their strongest efforts in years.
While their pop sensibilities peek through on numbers such as the perky "Daisy Changed" and "Strange Attractors", their punk influences jump out of the speakers and slam you against the wall for the rest of the album. Songs such as "Zero Stars", with a guitar-line that shoots first and asks questions later, "Rock And Roll", a Cro-Magnon Ramones-styled punk anthem and "Elf", all have the guts of mid-'70s punk without sounding dated or contrived. "Perfect Product" throbs with a thick, hammering, heavy-metal rhythm, while the high energy instrumental "Judge Freeball" sounds like the progressive-rock trio Rush with a spiky, green mohawk. Valentin's deadpan sonnet of a Peeping Tom, amidst an invading bass-line and nervous, twangy guitar actually lures one to the picture window to shake it for the neighbors on "Silhouette".
Grunge rock may be dead, but the Poster Children have managed to keep its spirit fully intact on DDD.

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