Drunk in Public -- Tapped Out

Back in the mid-nineties I hosted a radio show on my college's in-house station and, of all the record labels I contacted, Fearless Records was the most enthusiastic about sending me their releases (I also remember getting some stuff from Fat Wreck Chords and the station manager taking all the NOFX CDs for himself...). While none of the CDs I got from Fearless were mind-blowingly original, I did enjoy adding some Blount, Glue Gun, 30 Foot Fall, Grabbers, and White Caps tunes to the program. At any rate, the one record I recall playing most frequently both on- and off-air was Drunk in Public's Tapped Out! so it is with some pleasure and quite a bit of nostalgia that I return to the disk this early New Year's morning.

One of the legions of similar-sounding pop-punk bands active in the late eighties and early nineties, Drunk in Public contributed some of the catchier tracks to a few of the era's more memorable compilations, toured the States a couple of times, and released Tapped Out! which, it seems, remains the band's most well-known work.

As I've said, though, Tapped Out! does little to distinguish itself from what is, in retrospect, an unbelievably sprawling body of largely-forgotten pre-Green Day boom pop-punk. Still, while the style and sound of the music is essentially interchangeable with those of now-neglected bands, the album's quality production and the band's tight musicianship combine to make one of those disks that I will continue to dig out once in a while to add some variety to my (soon-to-be-resumed) radio show. Furthermore, the bits of funk (especially on the slap-bass happy "Don't Give Up"), hardcore, and pseudo-hair metal (take the Van Halenish opening to "Looking Back," for instance) make the record stand out from the pop-punk pack. But not by much.


Track 1. "The Way He Feels." This was always a popular song when I played it. The first of many songs about relationships on the album.

Track 3. "Enemies." Probably the band's most well-known track, "Enemies" appeared on at least one compilation (one of Fearless's Punk Bites disks) and is yet another breakup song.

Track 4. "Meaningless." A hardcore-tinged song about a dysfunctional relationship. Noticing a pattern yet? The whoah-oh-oooh-oooh-ohs, though, make it a keeper.

Track 5. "Everyday." Take Screeching Weasel and move them to sunny California and you've got another catchy Drunk in Public love song.

Track 14. "Shades of Gray." The best vocal performance on the disk, I reckon, "Shades of Gray" offers a lot for the punker looking for something to sing to while sitting in traffic.

Sobriquet Grade: 81 (B-).


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