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The Peppermints

Paw Tracks

If the cover art, which turns the Last Supper into a food fight, doesn’t tip you off, there’s always that umlaut. And if that doesn’t do the trick, the first, say, five seconds of the loud and thrashing Jesüs Chryst should leave no doubt that the band that produced it chose its name ironically. Sure, “the Peppermints” may sound cute, evoking an Ed Sullivan– era wholesomeness, but the Peppermints themselves sound anything but: Mean, nasty, and noisy, they’ve never met an impure thought they couldn’t set to a nontune. The 8-year-old San Diego group—whose lineup this time around includes Lil G’Broagfran, M. Ron Hubbard, Grim Graham, and Ms. Hot Chocolate—tumbles through 18 tracks in less than 29 minutes, barely pausing long enough to nurture any one musical idea. Still, there are some nice touches along the way: The submerged, quavery vox of “Carmen Coxon” match its submerged, quavery guitar line, and whichever ’Mint is banging the drums drops some nice cowbell here and there. The lyrics, at least when the vocals aren’t distorted out of recognition, are frequently puerile and, when they tackle taboos simply because, like, y’know, they can, a distinctly mixed bag. Perhaps it’s a matter of cultural resonance. Certainly the ponderous, “She-Bop”– esque meditation on bodily discharges in “Santorum” (“They like it…/You like it…/He likes it…/She likes it”) beats the march-style sound-off of “Onion Salad,” which exhorts the listener to, among other things, “rape a nun.” And the air of environmental apocalypse that hangs over “Rabid Frogs,” with its references to “foaming at the mouth” and sorta-tribalist drumming, trumps the raucous, incestuous, and completely gratuitous “Cousin.” The high point may very well be “Anxiathon,” which, as near as I can tell, shows how suspicion and bigotry can feed off one another; the chorus of “Let’s make each other more nervous, more nervous” sounds as anxious as the words. When the song then spirals out of control via a string of nonsensical “dum, dum, dum, dum”s, the Peppermints show what they can do when they don’t act like a bunch of stupid kids let loose in a candy shop.

—Joe Dempsey