THE CYNICS: Living Is The Best Revenge LP

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In May 2002 THE CYNICS hooked up with ace producer/R&R spiritual counselor TIm Kerr in Austin, TX. to record their first studio album in 7 years and most likely their best one to date! Recorded at Sweat Box Studios with Mike Vasquez and Bryan Nelson engineering, the tracks were laid down in just three days and they capture the energy and intensity of the Cynics live performances. The songs cover quite a dynamic range -from howling, fuzzed-out punkers to mid-tempo melodic folk-rock nuggets to pure psych-garage mayhem. All with the ever-present Gretsch guitar sound of Gregg Kostelich and the gnarly great in-your-face vocals of Michael Kastelic. Completing the sound is Tom Hohn’s prime beat bashing and Smith Hutching’s solid bass.

Track listing:
Turn Me Loose
Making Deals
Marianne
The Tone
Ballad of J.C. Holmes
She Lives (In A Time Of Her Own)
Revenge
I Got Time
Let Me Know
You’ve Never Had It Better
Last Day
Shine

“Keeping the Garage torch burning since 1983, the Cynics come through like a rude blast of fuzz-tone guitar.”
-ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“People like to talk about the new garage revival, but the Cynics have been churning out primo ’60s garage punk like nobody’s business for over 15 years, and they are truly the kings. From the opening chords of “Turn Me Loose” to the psychedelic harmonies of the last track, “Shine,” I was pretty much floored by the raw, fuzzed-out energy. Singer Michael Kastelic and guitarist Gregg Kostelich have topped themselves, and every other band in this genre.” -LAURIE HENZEL BUST MAGAZINE

“Pittsburgh’s Cynics have been toiling in those often barren fields for two decades now; reunited after taking most of the ’90s off, they display peak-form songwriting and instrumental skills on Living Is the Best Revenge. The Cynics honor two of the best known, the Electric Prunes and the 13th Floor Elevators, with superb covers, plus a fine performance of the more obscure Satans’ Making Deals, a mock satanic precursor of Sympathy for the Devil. But it is tracks such as the snarling yet tuneful Last Day, that point the way toward garage rock’s future: new songs that balance originality and tradition, energy and melody, and satisfy the eternal appetite for a three-minute nugget of rock ‘n’ roll thrills.” -KEN BARNES, USA TODAY

“A slew of prime Cynics skree. Among my picks to click are the malevolent, “Psycho-edged ‘The Tone’ and the interstellar hard rock jam ‘Shine’ which sounds like Coltrane crossed with the old Alice Cooper Group. But there ain’t a duff track in the bunch!-FRED MILLS, MAGNET

“Living Is The Best Revenge is chock full of charged up energy and great rock and roll tunes that get better with repeated listenings. The band offers plenty of original tunes on this outing and as well as covers of songs by The Satans and Thirteenth Floor Elevators.” –BABYSUE REVIEW

 ”I’ve been a Cynics devotee as long as I remember — from the early ‘80s singles on Dionysus and the subsequent Blue Train Station elpee debut; through a still-memorable mid-’80s gig in North Carolina that found the boys from Pittsburgh torching, appropriately enough, an old pizza joint-turned-punk club; to a long hiatus during the ‘90s when I consoled myself, in the group’s absence, by taping all their 45s for non-stop in-auto play. Now they’re back, my first return whiff of the Cynics’ still-extant power being a pair of frothing slabs of 45 RPM wax. “Turn Me Loose” is classic high-octane Cynics: overdriven fuzz guitars, distorto-choogle harp, Yardbirds raveup dynamics and manic vocal yelps, while the flip is a searing cover of the Electric Prunes’ proto-metal nugget “Never Had It Better.” Another cover, of obscure psych-garage outfit The Gonn’s desperation daze ode “Doin’ Me In,” leads off 45 #2, and verily, it is a lovely sort of death. With the jangly 12-string pop musings of band original “Last Day” gracing this flipside, it’s safe to say that for Cynics fans, the band never really went away ­ it was just snoozing. Now my advance peek at the Living Is The Best Revenge CD completes the jumpstart upon my Ray-O-Vac heart. Alongside the two above-referenced originals and the Prunes tune are stellar covers of the Satans and the 13th Floor Els (what would a Cynics album be without the band genuflecting before the sonic teats that have nourished them since their Cub Scout years?) plus a slew of prime Cyns’ skree. Among my picks to click are the malevolent, “Psycho”-edged “The Tone” and the interstellar hard rock jam “Shine” which sounds like Coltrane crossed with the old Alice Cooper Group. But there ain’t a duff track in the bunch, and all I can close this appreciation with is — boy fuggin’ howdy!”

-Fred Mills, assoc. ed., MAGNET Magazine

 

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