# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Government Issue - Complete Discography Vol 2

  by Andrew Carver

published: 12 / 3 / 2002

Government Issue - Complete Discography Vol 2
Label: Dr Strange
Format: CD X2


"Worthy" double CD second retrospective of the influential Washington punk band, Government Issue

Government Issue started out life as a D.C. hardcore band; almost the archetypal (the unkind might say stereotypical) hard-edged political punk band. Doctor Strange compiled almost all of the band’s history from 1981-1986 on the first volume (barring a handful of tracks that appear on other, in-print compilations), and now finishes the job with a worthy collection of their remaining work. The second chapter of GI’s recorded history ushered in a new rhythm section — bassist J. Robbins and drummer Pete Moffett joined guitarist Tom Lyle and singer John (Stabb) Schroeder; and a new direction, towards a more melodic, poppy punk sound. Disc One of this two-CD, 51-song comp starts off with 'You' ” from 1987; it’s the band’s sixth LP, and perhaps the most distant from what Schroeder called GI’s original “bash and howl.” GI didn’t completely abandoned their hardcore roots — the riffs still owe more to Black Sabbath than Chuck Berry — but the pop direction is clear musically and lyrically. 'There’s a Hole in the Scene' spells out the reason for the band’s transformation by completing the title with the lyric “where the brains used to be.” It’s fair to say that the GI of 1981 wouldn’t reference the Beatles’ 'Fixing a Hole' with the line “fixin’ a hole where the brain gets in,” or sing “the world’s a happy place” as they do in the standout track, 'Melancholy Miss.'  The sound is more melodic, and augmented with vocal harmonies, occasional studio fiddling (for example the eerie backward choir before the final verse and chorus of '“Young Love'), organ and cowbell on '“Where You Live' and, as Schroeder says in the liner notes, “perhaps ... the very first time anyone in a punk rock band used an electric sitar on a guitar solo” on 'Wishing'. Schroeder’s vocals have changed from a shout to a Dave Vanian-like croon, particularly on the first track 'Jaded Eyes'. (He also does an uncanny impression of Richard Butler in the intro of 'The World, You and I.') There’s a live rendition of “Public Stage' (from 'You') that appeared on a compilation, then it’s on to GI’s last studio LP, 1988’s 'Crash'. It’s a punchier, faster record than 'You', but it retains the melody of 'You'.” Where the songs on 'You' were mostly inspired by a relationship Stabb describes as “teen psycho booty;” on 'Crash', introspection is the order of the day. Disc 2 compiles GI’s 1988 live double album 'Finale' and a pair of unrecorded tracks from a fan video. The live sets, recorded at a radio show in California and a New York club, are decent, but the versions of songs from 'You' and 'Crash' don’t add much to their studio versions. The fidelity is better on the first, radio show half; on the second half, the guitar sound is heavily fuzzed out, and doesn’t keep the melody going as well as the songs demand. Despite the middling quality of the live disc, anyone interested in D.C. hardcore, J. Robbin’s pre-Jawbox and Burning Airlines career, or the roots of modern pop punk is advised to pick it up.

Track Listing:-
1 Jaded Eyes
2 Beyond
3 Man In A Trap
4 Caring Line
5 Young Love
6 Where You Live
7 Wishing
8 Public Stage
9 World, You And I
10 Hole In The Scene
11 Melancholy Miss
12 Public Stage (Live)
13 Another Day
14 Strange Wine
15 Better Than TV
16 Time Will Rearrange
17 Connecticut
18 Crash
19 The Price
20 The Fear
21 Summer Of Blood
22 For Ever
23 Strange Wine
24 Where You Live
25 Blending In
26 Understand
27 Better Than TV
28 Jaded Eyes
29 Mad At Myself
30 Beyond
31 Wishing
32 The Price
33 Public Stage
34 Connecticut
35 It Begins Now
36 Last Forever
37 Wishing
38 Another Day
39 Understand
40 Beyond
41 Mad At Myself
42 Forever
43 Jaded Eyes
44 Say Something
45 Visions And?
46 Caring Line
47 Hole In The Scene

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