POP-O-PIES, Pop-O-Anthology: 1984-1993 CD

By Jedd Beaudoin

This hour-long disc not only features members of Mr. Bungle and Faith No More (Joe Pop-O-Pie has the distinction of being the first FNM vocalist), it also gives those who missed out on Reagan-era punk something to talk about.

Featuring Joe's Second Record (1984) and Joe's Third Record (1986) in their entirety, plus 1993's "In Frisco" single and two previously unreleased tracks ("Ignorant" and "(My Mind) She Don't Bug Me"), much of the material was recorded and released at a time when punk was reluctantly yielding to college rock and thrash metal.

The material from Second Record finds young Joe thinking about New York (dig the critique that the NYC punk community gets in "I Love New York"), the then-ongoing recession ("A Political Song") and the Grateful Dead (the version of "Truckin'" included here gives us a glimpse of what might have happened had Jerry sniffed a little more glue and huffed Scotchguard daily).

A few years later, Joe cast his net a little wider, honing in on depression ("Bummed-Out-Guy"), the music biz ("Ripped Off and Promoted Lame") while expanding the band's musical scope from rough-edged punk to something that was sort of closer to early U2 and the Psychedelic Furs than the Dead Kennedys ("Shut Up and Listen").  There was also time to deliver a glorious butchering of "I Am the Walrus" and a bizarre version "Sugar Magnolia," which put the Grate in Grateful Dead, to be sure.

"In Frisco" and other 1993 material may be a little more polished and a little more grown up.  In short, Pop-O-Anthology 1984-1993 (remastered by Klaus Fluoride and Tom Mallon of the Dead Kennedys) serves as great (re)introduction to a sorely missed bygone era.