Fenix TX - Purple Reign in Blood (Live) 
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Dan MacIntosh   
Tuesday, 08 November 2005

Adrenaline Music Group
performance 6
sound 6
released 2005

There must be a billion pop-punk bands out there these days, and this live Fenix TX CD reunites just one example from an already glutted stylistic subgroup. The CD’s cover art combines a Slayer pentagram with Prince’s unpronounceable symbol, and its title also has a little fun with these two strange musical bedfellows. The disc’s music, however, is neither Slayer metal nor Princely funk, but snotty punk instead.

These lucky 13 songs fall into two basic lyrical categories: they either express lust or cry over a broken heart. “Phoebe Cates” is the CD’s most noteworthy masturbatory number, primarily because it revolves around a “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” movie star. Sample lines: “All I really need is someone like Phoebe/Someone to excite my fantasy.” As for heart trouble tunes, on the other hand, the song title “Tear Jerker” succinctly foreshadows what it’s all about.

One exception to this general bi-categorical lyrical rule is “Minimum Wage,” which briefly touches upon politics. “But life ain’t nothin’ but a bowl of grits,” its lyrics state, then continue, “And this United States proud stuff makes me sick.” Furthermore, one of this disc’s two covers, John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son,” is also overtly political, with its anti-war sentiment. Its words are as appropriate today as they were back during the Vietnam War era of Creedence Clearwater Revival. The war in Iraq, sadly, has given many protest songs renewed life. The CD’s other cover, “Major Tom,” was a hit for Peter Schilling, and the band’s punked-up arrangement of it renders it nearly unrecognizable.

Almost everything on this CD races by in a slam dance blur, which leaves Fenix TX sounding not all that different from those other billion bands. In fact, had the group actually attempted to mix Prince with Slayer, such a bold artistic choice would have been preferable. Can’t you just imagine doves crying over a lightning fast electric guitar solo? No such luck, though. This is just run-of-the-mill pop-punk rock.

For better or for worse, the producers just let the tape roll during this live set.

It doesn’t sound like they even tried to tidy up the mix or fix any mistakes. It does, however, capture the noisy atmosphere of a sweaty punk rock gig, for whatever that’s worth. It probably sounds best when played in the car with the windows rolled down, the engine revved up, and highway sounds mixed in indecipherably with the music. Contemplative, home listening music this ain’t.

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