Though Jeff Dahl's name will forever be linked with the Angry Samoans, thanks to his tenure as their lead singer, his solo work is more intelligent and varied than anything that band ever attempted. (Or, evidently, would want to attempt.) On Wasted Remains of a Disturbing Childhood, Dahl turned in a moody and complex album, with the usual angry and aggressive songs interspersed with more thoughtful pieces. This isn't to say that Dahl tones down the music, and in fact some of the most effective songs are the ones where the guitars howl and Dahl chants poetry over the din. "A Dash of Prayer" is a standout track, a portrait of someone begging the universe for a relationship to work, but there are some other tracks in the same vein that crackle with electricity. Dahl also slows things down and delivers a few nearly acoustic numbers, such as the downright pretty "Across Southern Plains," a Western-tinged number about withdrawing from the temptations of the city and into the desert. Knowing that this is exactly what Dahl has done in his Arizona recording studio gives this track a special significance -- one senses that he's really writing from the heart. The next track, the brief, cacophonous jazz instrumental "LA Blows," features Dave Nazworthy's honking sax evoking car horns and chaos. (Given that this CD was recorded during the L.A. riots, the Arizona desert must have looked pretty good right then.) Measured as a pair, the two give contrasting visions of the world. Measured as a whole, this ambitious album shows the depth and range of Jeff Dahl's talents, and it's a must-have for fans of intelligent and adventurous punk-rock.~~ Richard Foss
trACks: Mercy Me - Hey Cinderella - The View From The Gutter - Wasted Remains Of A Disturbing Childhood - She's So Cool - A Dash Of Prayer - Positive - Anti-Social - So Boring - Revolution Pays - 1969 - Across Southern Plains - L.A. Blows.