Favorite Albums: 2000-2004
16. Rocket From The Crypt, Live From Camp X-Ray
Original position on my Stylus ballot: #13
The early ’00s was a good time to be a big Rocket From The Crypt fan - or at least, a good time for me to be one. Not only did the group play State College twice to their own professed befuddlement (one show an in-store with covers of “Down On The Boondocks” and Wipers), they broke their usual three-years-per-album schedule to drop this zippy 10-song wonder just a year after Group Sounds. Plus they reissued the previously vinyl-only Hot Charity! And Camp X-Ray wasn’t actually live!
Though the album was followed by total silence until a farewell tour three years later, it may be the band’s finest. Not only is there an unusual degree of theme (post-9/11 anxiety and general discomfort with our aggro culture - admittedly ironic considering Crank ripped “Bring Us Bullets” for its credit roll), some tracks add string sections to the usual chants, horns and guitar-bass-drums pummel, lest you felt their music lacks dimension. Though I miss them dearly, “Too Many Balls” was a great song to go out on - frenzied frat-rock complete with “96 Tears” organ, topped with the most machophobic lyrics imaginable (“Brainwashed animals/high on rape/so much cum that I never feel safe”). Like RFTC itself, “Balls” was a valiant attempt to have their retro cake and eat it too.