Blast From the Past: The Pink Lincolns - Sumo Fumes

Pink Lincolns
Sumo Fumes
(Stiff Pole Records)

In honor of Richard "Big Stiff" Konwinski, who passed this past July in Tampa, I'll be juggling between the County Grind and Crossfade blogs doing my Blast From the Past thing on the record label that he founded, Stiff Pole Records. In my opinion, it came to define an exciting era in Florida's punk rock scene.

Forming in 1986 and with a couple of releases behind them, it would be in 1993 that The Pink Lincolns would unleash the first of their Sumo Fumes trilogy unto the world of punk rock. Starting the tradition of mixing covers and originals on one delicious 7" platter would prove a winning formula in the long run, one I noticed copied by many a pop-punk band in the mid-90's. That's right, Florida's all about that trend-setting!

Opening the slab is a raucous rendition of X-Ray Spex's "Oh Bondage Up Yours" that they handle with incredible gusto, Chris Barrow's nasal snarl is a perfect vehicle for almost cutesy inflection Poly Styrene provided in the original and the fun these guys are having comes through.

Closing out the A-Side is the original, slightly over a minute song "Monsters" with a decidedly more hardcore take on their nascent pop sensibilities. It also opens with some weird dead-of-night/UFO noises before it all crescendos into the affirmation of: "people are more hideous than monsters" before revisiting the introductory eeriness before dying out in the groove.

The B-Side is a formal cover of the Split Enz's "I Got You" that shows they can do atmospheric New Wave like the originals but you can't also help feeling the fact that this might be some kind of inside joke they rehearsed to drop unto unsuspecting punkers. If that's the case, I dig it! There are also some female back-up vocals during the chorus that add a nice touch.

This EP was recorded in January of 1993 and the personnel on track are as follows: Chris Barrows on vocals, Dorsey Martin and John Yovino on guitars, Fred Stolz on drums and Jim Belonga on bass. Mastering was handled by Scott Burns. While the Stiff Pole site still has Sumo Fumes 2 and 3available on their catalogue, I recently saw this EP on eBay for the tidy sum of seventeen dollars, which is not too bad seeing how the disc is seventeen years old. Nice coincidence? A dollar a year?

Maybe, if not, just pretend it's ice cream.

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