The Dicks -- "Hate the Police"

The Dicks
"Hate the Police" 
Radical Records, 1980

Released one year after the Dead Kennedys slapped "Police Truck" on the B-side of the "Holiday in Cambodia" single and one year before Black Flag's "Police Story" landed on the Damaged LP, the Dicks' most famous song stands alongside those two tracks as one of early American hardcore's most outstanding critiques of police corruption. Like "Police Truck" before it, "Hate the Police" adopts the perspective of a police officer to explore the self-aggrandizing psychology of a power-drunk individual bent on terrorizing a community he disparagingly views as little more than vermin to exterminate. While Glen Taylor's jangled guitar is the board upon which Gary Floyd's ragged vocals surf, a hefty portion of the track's strident insistence comes from the crashing waves of Pat Deason's frenetic drumming. Short, trenchant, and incendiary, "Hate the Police" is landmark in American hardcore. The B-side pulses with the same energy as the A-side, though neither "Lifetime Problems" nor "All Night Fever" approach the distilled rage of "Hate the Police." In the case of the former, "Lifetime Problems" is reminiscent of quite a few similarly blistering tracks from the early 80s. At times, it almost sounds like someone took Frank Agnew's guitar from the Adolescents' "Kids of the Black Hole" and Bruce Loose's vocals from Flipper's "Ha Ha Ha" and smashed them together. Meanwhile Buxf Parrot's vocals, which sound like a more adenoidal version of The Dickies' Leonard Graves Phillips', on "All Night Fever" transform a fairly straightforward hardcore tune into something a bit more playful. All-in-all, the Dicks' debut remains a touchstone of American punk.

Sobriquet Grade: 88 (B+)


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