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General Bastard - "You're Not Special!" (CD)

General Bastard - "You're Not Special!" CD cover image

"You're Not Special!" track listing:

1. Veinte
2. Black
3. Cell Phone Drivers
4. The Fly
5. You Can't Touch Me
6. You're Not Special
7. Torg
8. Sucks To Be You

Reviewed by on September 6, 2011

"The title of General Bastard's 'You're Not Special!' is also an apt description of the disc."

The title of General Bastard's "You're Not Special!" is also an apt description of the disc. If you've ever been in an incense-scented alternative record store in a college town, you've more than likely heard this brand of thrashy surf-punk before. That said, the General is an above-average guitar player, with some solid surf licks that recall the early years of the Reverend Horton Heat.

Things get off to a spectacular start with the speedy surf rock instrumental "Veinte," which races along splendidly and shows off the General's ability to ride the fretboard. It's easily the best track on the disc.

Things take a bit of a dip when lyrics are added to the mix. "Black," which opens with Peter Jennings reciting statistics on the number of black men in prison, is a fairly interesting discussion of the "little white lie" that everyone can get ahead in America, though it relies overly much on samples. Instrumentally, it's not all that great, with an overly simple drum part.

Still, it's much more daring lyrically than the dopey "Cell Phone Drivers," with the chorus reminding us to "get off your cell phone and drive/stop crossing over the white line." A great solo goes a fair distance toward rehabilitating the song.

Another instrumental, "The Fly" is an excellent bit of retro fun, with a creepy organ accompanying the Dick Dale-meets-Black Sabbath guitar line. The third instrumental, "Torg," goes by a little fast, but it's a nice change from "You Can't Touch Me" and "You're Not Special," the two tracks that precede it. The disc ends on a bum note with the "Smokey And The Bandit"-sampling "Sucks To Be You," which, at more than four minutes, overstays its welcome a bit.

Not nearly as funny as it likes to think it is (a "hidden" track that "goes out to some dude's ex-girlfriend or wife" is particularly grating), General Bastard's "You're Not Special!" is redeemed a bit by some moments of excellent guitar-playing. That said, unless you're a fan of this particular vein of reto-influenced punk rock, you're not likely to find much to love here.

Highs: The instrumentals, "Veinte," "Torg" and "The Fly."

Lows: The over-long "Sucks To Be You" and "Cell Phone Drivers."

Bottom line: Some excellent moments instrumentally, but this thrashy surf-punk album is not nearly as funny or clever as the band would like to think.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)