ARTIST: The Styrenes
TITLE: Essential Styrenes Vol. 1 (1975-1979)
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Drano in Your Veins, I Saw You
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
LINEUP: George Klimek, Paul Marotta, Anton Fier, Mike Antle, Jim Jones, other various drummers and bassists
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Arising out of the ashes of the early avant-garde Cleveland scene, the Styrenes were born, and wallowed in serious obscurity until people started to pay attention to Pere Ubu. Then they were just obscure.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Cleveland in the early 70’s produced some dark avant-garde rock, and after the first wave of bands came and went (including Mirrors and the infamous Electric Eels), the Styrenes formed.
Their first single (“Drano in Your Veins”) rather much captured it all. They weren’t loud and destructive – at least on record – they were subversive in other ways. The lyrics were just weird, art damaged maybe (early on), and the arrangements were a bit odd and off-putting. Later, they added saxes, shed members (many, like Anton Fier, joined Pere Ubu or other Cleveland bands) and Paul Marotta’s piano took more prominence. They were still weird.
This compilation covers their Cleveland years, containing the best two singles and album highlights. This was released originally as two 7” records, which was probably the perfect format for them.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: They moved to New York, recorded an album, waited about eight years, recorded another one, and somehow Marotta have kept a version going.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE C+: Google the lyrics to “Drano in Your Veins”. If you can dig it, you can dig this. It’s just inconsistent weirdness.