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At a time when a lot of garage rock bands sounded like they were drowning in a sea of paisley and nehru affectation, the Mummies flipped the whole scene the bird with one of the most gloriously ugly garage albums ever, 1992’s Never Been Caught. Sounding like it was recorded in an acoustically untreated basement on equipment that might have been state of the art in 1947, Never Been Caught is one long blast of monophonic skwak, with the needles almost perpetually in the red as four guys in mummy outfits bash out crude ’60s-style rock about beer, babes, and open hostility on battered gear which was doubtless discarded by tone-deaf teenagers who got over their 15-minute delusion of possible future rock stardom in 1966. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, this album is, quite simply, a work of genius; Billy Childish was once quoted as saying the Mummies were nearly as good as the Damned in 1977, and while the two bands don’t have much in common musically, the Mummies certainly shared the enthusiastic carelessness and “Smash It Up” energy with the Damned Damned Damned-era punks, as they set out to blow up amps and knock over drum kits just cause it seemed like a fun thing to do. And after listening to it, damned if you don’t want to join in — Never Been Caught is a perfect reminder that once upon a time rock & roll was considered dangerous just for being fast, loud, and snotty, and if the Mummies never quite became the new leaders of America’s juvenile delinquents, it’s sure not because they didn’t try. In 2002, Telstar Records marked the tenth anniversary of this album’s release by issuing Never Been Caught on compact disc for the first time; hard to say how they managed to blackmail the CD-loathing former Mummies into consenting to such a thing, but thankfully the disc (augmented with five bonus tracks) sounds just as flat and distorted as the original LP…nice to know some things never change.

-Mark Deming,

The Mummies-NEVER BEEN CAUGHT (1991)


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