Let’s fire up all the clichés.
Lightnin’ in a bottle. Always loved that phrase. Backhanded compliment? Sure, but I’d rather catch lightning then catch shit for continually banging out mediocre records. Of course, mediocre is in the, ahem, eye of the beholder. Case in point, Victims has had a nice career, crustily maximizing this d-beat n’ roll that has been eyeing an audience for some time now. But, they never seem to rise above the authentically leather-clad and the be-studded to hit the ears of folks that only have a passing familiarity with Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing (odd how that title sums up the up-to-now proliferation of the genre).
Maybe, just maybe, it’s because Victims best work, the album of theirs' that is worth the time/effort to track down is a ridiculously hard to find demo EP. From the opening feedback to the final chug, Harder Than it Was Meant to Be is delightfully free of battleworn self-doubt, the kind of limitations that a band lumps upon their songwriting when they’ve done enough road testing to see what works and what doesn’t. Duders here are just plain pissed with phlegm covering every blown-out microphone, every amp reduced to rubble, and every drum head thoroughly smashed. And the production is endearingly shoddy, which, ultimately makes this recording. Instead of hiding the flaws behind a wall of sound, it presents them up front, bobbing on the waves of coursing adrenaline and without the anchor of self-control. You can only get a recording like this on the first go-’round, which is why most demos, for whatever reason, are music’s lightning rod atop the Empire State Building.