On it's first day out Guttermouth gets praise from Aversion.com.

Eat Your Face

In some circles you can't drink beer. In other circles, it's a bad idea to wear leather. Other places, you'd better not drop a word like "faggot" or "cunt." When did punk rock become so regimented?

Guttermouth returns from its acousta-country-punkish direction to true-blue punk rock -- the kind that will piss off parents, overly sensitive scenesters and most authority figures worth their position -- on Eat Your Face. Punk rock's serious side's rarely been as overlooked, and it couldn't feel better. Go get drunk, fall down, make fun of the handicapped, poor, ugly, snobby and the easily sensitive and set it to snotty So-Cal punk rock, and you've got Eat Your Face. Except, of course, your version probably wouldn't be nearly as catchy, humorous or downright irresistible as Guttermouth's stab at it is.

The veteran punks aren't screwing around on their tenth full-length. In fact, they're not about to kowtow to anybody on this record. Sounding like vintage Guttermouth (read: young, loud, snotty and without a trace of shame), Eat Your Face recalls the band's days as mid-90s yuksters on albums like Gorgeous and Friendly People.

There are no surprises on this record. Singer Mark Adkins lets his snotty vocals straddle the line between nasal bickering and singing, while the band unloads a pile of songs that sound as if they could have been pulled straight out of the early-'80s Los Angeles scene, with wiry guitars and straight-ahead tempos that forgo skatepunk, metal-core and a million other clichés. Adkins levels his witticism at a load of targets -- none of them obvious -- with irony, cynicism and a poison tongue. "Surf's Up Asshole," rags on trendy surfer wannabes, "My Neighbor's Baby" condemns an infant for ear-piercing, sleep-disrupting screams and "Party of Two" rails on suddenly politically conscious punks who, a year ago, were talking skateboard and halfpipes instead of electoral politics. Of course, the suspected odes to booze show up in "NRAAA" and "Second DUI."

"Punk" and "comedy" are rarely used correctly in conjunction with each other, but Eat Your Face proves the lost art of the punk-rock smartass hasn't died. Don't let the one-liners and sarcasm fool you, however, as Adkins and company are as testy and pissed off as any of their more aggressive brethren, a fact that makes the band's latest a glorious return to wisecracking punk rock.

- Matt Schild

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