Few punk bands in the world can claim to be as authentic as Butchwax. Formed in Raleigh in 1977, the band played raucous, apolitical, three-chord rock 'n' roll that hinged on the vocal interplay between snarling Butch Modern (Ron Taylor) and sassy singer Molly Winner. With only a few live bootlegs as documentation of their talents, they flamed out in the early '80s and probably would have been forgotten had the members of The Bad Checks not talked them into playing a couple of shows earlier this year. Thanks to technology available now, more than 20 years after their heyday, they've finally gotten around to committing to disc what they never got to put on vinyl.
This self-released CD offers few surprises, except for perhaps the total absence of Winner and a semi-acoustic country-inflected ballad called "Rebound Romance." Slower and more introspective, "Rebound Romance" is a nice rest from the rest of the CD's gritty (and often similar-sounding) garage rock, and proves that Taylor is actually a very strong singer who can do much more than give attitude.
Winner's absence is, unfortunately, the CD's most glaring flaw. Still in her teens when she first began singing with the group, she had an innocent angst that was completely uncontrived and a shriek to match Taylor yelp for yelp. Because she was an occasional member of the group, and because she no longer lives in the area, it's understandable that the band would record without her. But if they could have found a way to include her, it would have lifted some very good songs into great territory.