Luicidal – Born In Venice (Cleopatra Records)

It’s safe to say that the spectre of Louiche Mayorga’s former band (Suicidal Tendencies for those of you who’ve been living in a cave since 1982) loom large in the name, aesthetics, sound and lyrical substance of Luicidal but that’s not really surprising given the bass player’s input to the early (and best) incarnation of the band. That said, the almost Mike Muir-esque slightly off key, breathy vocal style that kicks off the opening title track was almost a step too far for me. Thankfully the band rescue the track by slamming in with some fine crossover riffage that brings to mind Mayorga’s other post ST outfit, Uncle Slam. “I Win You Loose” features a more laid back, almost stoner rock riff; an unexpected departure in style that piqued my interest as to what other surprises Luicidal had up their sleeves. “Punk Chick” bristles with a latino funk/70s groove, kinda like Santana on meth…”Tears of a Psycho Clown” sounds like ‘”How Can I Laugh…” era ST with its depressed vibe and brash time tempo changes. It’s back to groove territory for the venomous anti Trump “Fuck You”; filled with vitriolic responses to actual Trump quotes (the lunacy of which really hit home when you hear someone else say them).

And so we come to \”Institucionalizado\”; now some might question the decision to include an actual ST song on this album, but given how many times Mike Muir has re-recorded this track then I don’t see any reason why one of its other main writers shouldn’t give it a reworking too, and I have to applaud the decision to bring in a strong female vocalist, the impressive Ceci Bastida, who fairly spits out the chorus at such a speed that it makes the original seem tardy in comparison.  Having the song sung by a woman and transposing the lyrics into Spanish also adds a new dimension to the track, making this a more than worthwhile exercise, and probably my favourite track on BIV. “ST Posse” is another surprise, a laid back Ska number with a nice little nod to Toots and The Maytals “54-46 Was My Number”. If you’re looking for something that could easily have sat on the eponymous ST album then look no further than “Sick Society” – apart from the lyrics it could easily be “I Saw Your Mommy” Part 2.  Speedy 80s style hardcore punk is reprised on “Surfin Tsunamis” a sub-2 minute adrenalin rush. Just to confuse matters the band close proceedings with the ultra-mellow “Steel Soldier” – probably the most surprising track on “Born In Venice” – a light breezy, easy listening, chill out which rounds out the anger and frustration in the other 12 tracks. A diverse and solid follow up to Luicidal’s self-titled debut album which shows that Mayorga is still worthy of attention. Ian Pickens

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