Various Artists

Kid-friendly Ramones merchandise is nothing new. There's already a universe of products emblazoned with the band's likeness or logo: diaper bags, baby bibs, onesie jumpers and, of course, those motherfucking tot-sized T-shirts. Produced by ex-L7 bassist Jennifer Finch, Brats on the Beat features members of established and obscure punk bands leading a children's choir sing-along of the Ramones' more recognizable songs. Pennywise's Jim Lindberg tackles the ubiquitous "Blitzkrieg Bop." Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba takes on "Rock 'n' Roll High School." Jack Grisham from TSOL closes out the album with "Bop 'Til You Drop." And some dude named Ash Guff does a cover of a cover of the Spider-Man theme song. As with their original incarnations, these kiddy karaoke interpretations are delivered in the efficient and straightforward manner that is a Ramones' signature: Chugging buzzsaw guitars with little-to-no flourish and lightning quick drumming marked by a precision you could time a track meet with. The power of Johnny's pure, "uninfluenced" rock guitar sound and Joey's melodious pop sensibilities might become slightly sanitized when accompanied by a bunch of squealing youngsters, but it's no less effective. What you won't find are those pesky references to glue-sniffing or reminiscences of hooking on 53rd and 3rd that might otherwise deem a Ramones tribute album not so suitable for children.
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Geoff Johnston

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