Four and a half stars
The Latex Novelties’ A Girl’s Best Friend is a compilation of songs recorded by the band in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s and originally released on vinyl in Italy. Insane demand in the European punk scene has led to several re-pressings, the reformation of the band and the domestic release of the album on CD by a California-based label, Pelador Records.
The album is a rowdy, engaging reminder of what made these guys so special. Tunes like “Just Meat,” “Kiss & Make-up” and “Born to Destroy” blast forth with a three-decades-old punk glory that sounds just as relevant now. Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that they were more than just Hoosier punk imitators. “Surf Bandits” is a lost surf-punk masterpiece; “I Do I Own ‘Ting” and “Retaliation” melded reggae and punk years before The Bad Brains did the same; and the group brings more of a Heartland vibe to “Tangerine Hair.” Knox’s gritty guitar passage halfway through “Tangerine” is undoubtedly one of the greatest performances ever laid down on tape by a Hoosier.
Original members Davey Cretin, Dean Gregory, Andy Rexia and Greg Knox, along with new lead throat Justin Allen, are pledging to release a full CD of new material later this year. Until then, we can look back on the legacy of what Latex Novelties did back in the day.
Available at most fine independent Central Indiana record salons and at myspace.com/latexnoveltiesband.