Poison Idea: The Fatal Erection Years – album review

Hardcore punk band Poison Idea have been together for over 30 years and record label Southern Lord have been reissuing all their recordings. This release features their first EP amongst other things & in this post long time fan Adrian Bloxham reviews the album for us.

Remember the front at hardcore gigs. The sheer elation as you beat crap out of everyone around you and got pummelled as the music tore into you. The beer throwing and the sweat soaked tee shirts as you threw yourself around like an absolute idiot.
This is the music you did it to.

Gravel voiced, no nonsense, straight ahead US Punk Rock. Powerful and hard. These guys played for themselves and if anyone else liked it…sod them. Poison Idea was about not giving one. It was about making noise and just about staying alive. I remember an interview in a German music magazine that my girlfriend of the time had, I couldn’t read it but the pictures of a huge guy sitting in some kind of a shack reading hard core pornography stuck. This band were not going to be huge and to be frank, they knew, did it anyway and could just as easily not have been bothered.

This release collects their releases on Fatal Erection Records. What a name for a record label. They fitted. If you look at photos of Poison Idea you see they were ugly, in one case obese and just very unpleasant, in other words very punk rock as they saw it.

Their first record was ‘Pick Your King’ with a cover featuring two kings ”“ Jesus on one side and Elvis on the other. It’s a lo-fi blast of furious drums thrashing guitar and growling vocals. Influenced by Black Flag and the Germs, Discharge and other early Southern California hardcore acts. If you are at all a fan of any of the bands mentioned you already know Poison Idea and I don’t need to convince you. Anyone else who is wondering why you need this in your life should contemplate why the hell not? That’s pretty much how Poison Idea did things. The year after that in 1984 they released ‘Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes‘, starting with a track called ”˜AA’ (see below) introduced with someone swigging from a bottle. The sound has got clearer and has got less thrashy but feels angrier. The songs are layered more, quieter moments, and I mean moments, pepper the sound. It’s another head rush of classic American hardcore punk sound.The next four tracks are from compilation albums and the production is cleaner even if the music isn’t. These are what people who never bought a Poison Idea album would know the band from and as such they are exactly what you need.

The live recordings that end the collection are brutal but the tunes stand up, they aren’t bludgeoned into the ground. The between song banter is friendly and as a band they probably knew half the audience and the slow ”˜slam dance jam’ just makes you anticipate the explosion of noise even more with the next track.

”˜We need more people on the dance floor’
”˜who wants to volunteer to get a broken nose…’

All words by Adrian Bloxham. You can read more from Adrian on Louder Than War here.

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3 comments on “Poison Idea: The Fatal Erection Years – album review”

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  1. Great call. Poison Idea were brilliant. Sad that Pig died a few years back.

    War all the time is an ace LP.

  2. no download code and overpriced. i’m done with this label.

  3. They were NOT influenced by Black Flag. The reviewer is mistaking them for S.O.A., which had Henry Garfield (later Rollins) as singer.

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