Album #487 – Wild Gift

Album #487

X are my favorite American punk band. They were a part of the L.A. punk scene in the late 70’s but didn’t start recording until 1980. Wild Gift is their second album, produced by the late Ray Manzarek of the Doors. At the center of this punk quartet are bassist and lead singer John Doe and lead singer Exene Cervenka. Doe and Cervenka’s harmonies are similar to Johnny and June’s but with a punk edge. Cervenka’s voice is rough and shaky and works against Doe’s polished crooning style. Both voices seem to work together flawlessly and that’s what draws me to their music. Guitarist Billy Zoom displays his rockabilly influences in his style of playing especially when he solos. X’s roots are as much in country as they are in punk. They could be called one of the first cow punk bands and most of the members actually formed a country side project, The Knitters with Blasters’ front man Dave Alvin. It’s no surprise that Doe and Cervenka would turn to a more country sound for their solo projects. The lyrical content on the album is a mixture of songs about frustrated love and problems with life in the 80’s. Cervenka and Doe were in a relationship at the time so, the songs could have been about their relationship troubles. I like X not only for the unique voices of their two lead singers but also because, they are not as scary as most punk bands. In the early days, their lyrics were extreme but, as the band moved through the 80’s, the songs became more about society and less about love. The country, folk and roots influences also started to form the basis of their later sound. X are definitely worth checking out not only because of this but, all of the other music that came out of other projects done by it’s members. More people should know about X and their powerful role in punk rock. They are one band that I will never forget.  Highlights include: The Once Over Twice, We’re Desperate, Adult Books, Universal Corner, In This House That I Call Home, Some Other Time, White Girl, Back 2 The Base, When Our Love Passed Out on the Couch and Year 1. Overall, I give Wild Gift, 4.5 out of 5.

Next: Talk  Talk  Talk by The Psychedelic Furs

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