Young Canadians Joyride on the Western Front

Even 20 years after the fact, the biting, acerbic wit and angular melodic intensity of this seminal Vancouver punk trio comes off with fresh, innovative aplomb and an urgent sense of vitality. Clearly, Art Bergmann's band of Young Canadians were way ahead of their time - a fact that may provide a backhanded explanation as to why the unit is so rarely credited as an influence among today's anti-hit paraders. This 11-song live set was put to tape at San Francisco's Mabuhay Gardens on the opening evening of the 1980 Western Front Festival, mere months before the band's unceremonious break-up. Although everything is by and large represented in the mix, the sound quality is the shits, which is to say authentic. (The first track, "Mental Instability," ought to have been subtitled "Soundcheck.") What the package lacks in sonic splendour, however, is made up for in part by a trio of video clips ("Automan," "Data Redux" and "Hawaii"), an informative text file about the Western Front Fest and in-depth liner notes culled from a series of retrospective interviews with Bergmann. (White Noise)