The 1980’s were a hair-raising, genre-blending smash of what would become a multi-layered cake of rock music. From the glam and hair rock genres that were starting to capture the mainstream, bands like Jerry’s Kids were taking the fight to the background with Is This My World?; a record that holds more punches than answers.
Somehow, the music is an abrasive smash of 12-total tracks, a 24-minute runtime, and a mosh pit to the core. Jerry’s Kids was one of the more obscure acts to cover the punk scene that did not have the majority hold as a band like Minor Threat or Bad Brains, but was still substantial enough to fill a room of disenfranchised lovers of glorified, audible speed. With a take-no prisoners approach and a devotion to creating some real fireworks, “I Don’t Belong” and “Tear It Up” are tracks that act as campfires in a gasoline factory.
Almost rotten from the very start, “I Don’t Belong” is the epicenter of punk rock freedom as the band consisting of four distinct members. From Brian Betzger on the percussion or both Bob Cenci and Chris Doherty on the guitars. The band is orchestrated as this mad piece of wrecking crew works that has Rick Jones as the lead vocalist and bassist. This four-man assault team worked well as the movers of chaos on the 1983 release, Is This My World? where the fast-paced tracks and even faster playing has the world spinning around Jerry’s Kids.
As the group moves into “Tear It Up” or “Break The Mold”, there is little build up around the openings and the animalistic fury is used like a laser to singe the minds of the listener. Dealing with the nihilistic and anti-establishment styles of punk rock, Jerry’s Kids takes a similar idea and decides to “Break The Mold” as they clap through with quick snare smacks and guitar riffs that blitz and attack. The technical skill behind the playing however is present as the band stays tightly together and showcases a better display of more approachable work on “Raise The Curtain”.
Rather than being a straight arrow of rugged hell, “Raise The Curtain” is still a daunting and furious sounding track; instead taking a sluggish approach and being heavier in the way that the guitars and percussion is toned. A still crunch of the air follows “Raise The Curtain” as the almost broken laws of punk records come into frame. The full frontal destroyer becomes a welcome party for something that feels more as a paper weight to the unrestrained style of previous tracks. Which follows for some motions of the record before jumping back into “Vietnam Syndrome” which holds a quick build up before a chant to tear down “Uncle Sam” and discuss how he is “After you and after me.”
They are violent, but hold a positive message behind their sound that influenced an audacious wave to follow in punk rock forever. With elements of early heavy rock and a focus on challenging the status normality’s, Jerry’s Kids is an obscure diamond in a sea of punk records that are almost lost to obscurity.