Stretching the limits of Punk Rock
laurence hess | astoria, ny United States | 08/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first 3 Wipers records are all brilliant, but "Youth of America" is the one that really stands out. While it contains the vibrance and intensity of punk rock, it displays musicianship and creative production rarely found in the genre. Every song is completely different and completely excellent. "Taking so long" if vintage Wipers punk, fast, vicious riffs with angst filled, emotionally charged lyrics. It would not sound out of place on either "Is This Real?" or "Over the Edge". "Can This Be" follows and begins to show Greg Sage's incredible ability to compliment an energetic rocker with real thoughtful guitar lines. The real difference between this and other early Wipers albums is best illustrated in "When It's Over". The exquisite guitar movements that leads this mostly instrumental track through 6 and a half minutes of viscious beauty, are some of the finest ever to played on a "punk" album. The epic titular closer is another example of how Sage and Co. expanded their sound to encompass experimental and psychadelic music into punk rock. The song starts off with a brilliant verse/chorus/verse movement that is vintage early 80's punk, but leads into a sonic exploration closer to something from Neu!. All the while the bass and drums are holding down a rock solid, 2 note groove that allows Sage to morph his guitar lines and vocal snarls into a swirling mass of sound. In the hands of a less talented individual "Youth of America" could have been a self-indulgent, boring, obtuse, jam album (even w/the breakneck tempos), but Sage (who decided to produce this himself after being unhappy with the way that "Is This Real" came out after being forced to re-record his original version in a pro studio) makes this into the ultimate statement by a real punk rock auteur. This is an album that is definatly the brain child of a single mind, but the ability to bring so many elements into a punk rock album has made it the standard bearer for others, such as Sonic Youth or Dinosaur Jr., who would bring punk to new musical levels in the years following this release."