Music clips to download:

Caitlin Cries
Nice Girls (Don't Explode)

4-Play EP

Animal 5

You're Tearing Me Up (Deal)

Caitlin Cries (Deal)

Bloodspill (Deal)

Nice Girls (Don't Explode) (Deal)

Steve Deal - vocals, guitar

Dean McNulty - bass, vocals

Furgis Allen - drums

Recorded at River Street Studios, New Haven, 12/29 August 1989. Produced by Jack Flanagan and Chopper.


Despite the duff name (a helicopter reference, they say. Ho, Ho!), an excellent power-pop trio from Connecticut - best debut of its kind I've heard since the great Jeff Murphy-produced Materialissue. The drums can be ham-fisted but some juicy wedges of gutsy guitar and stirring lead breaks more than compensate. The quartet of urgent girls'n'more girls songs are good, going on great -- sounds like The Who meet The Barracudas meet The Seers, a mighty collision of buzzsaw guitar, power-chords and harmonies. Heard it all a zillion times before, but Chopper give their material such an awesome amount of stick that you'll be licking your lips in anticipation of more to come. "You're Tearing Me Up," "Caitlin Cries," and "Bloodspill" are all dynamite, with "Nice Girls (Don't Explode)" lagging behind, but not by far. This EP might be a bugger to track down, but will repay the effort in spades.

New Haven trio Chopper is centered around singer/guitarist Steven Deal late of Bleached Black, but on their debut four-song EP 4PLAY Chopper bear little resemblance to that band. Openly comparing themselves to The Rich Kids (ah, a band with taste!) one could also imagine them opening for The Skids, Professionals or '79-'80 Weirdos with this big guitar-dominated, anthemic sounding, soaring rock/pop. If Chopper isn't as good as the above, it's only 'cause they didn't mix that glorious guitar of Deal's loud enough and the production by the group and Mob/Murphy'sLaw guitarist Jack Flanagan is merely adequate, as befits limited budgets. But the material is wonderful,spirited, energetic and melodic,great for a first disc. All four songs, culminating in the fine "Nice Girls (Don't Explode)," are a blast from the past that sounds current, and sounds great!

Here's power-pop the way god intended -- no fluff, no fakery, no insufferable cleverness, just good, solid Pete Townshend-inspired guitars (especially on "Bloodspill," which sounds like "Substitute" turned inside out), and drums that are not simply big as a house, they're more like a whole bitchin' Newport, R.I. old-old-money estate. It's amazing how fresh and forceful this kind of thing sounds -- no matter how many scintillions of bands have done it -- when there's a really smart lyricist on hand; and in Steven Deal, leader of the late lamented Bleached Black, that's just what Chopper has. He tends to write from a junior high school perspective -- in fact, "Caitlin Cries" harks back to a ninth-grade love triangle -- but fortunately, he avoids the role of lovesick pup and sticks with playing the class clown.

Whoa! Power-pop lives. Well, for guitarist/singer/songwriter Steven Deal it never died -- he being the fellow who bam-slammed gnashing guitars, fine harmonies, and tuneful melodies as the frontman on Bleached Black's self-titled album four years ago. Bleached Black packed it in, but Deal didn't, genuflecting to the appropriate verities on this four-song EP: The Who, Buzzcocks, and Husker Du. Where Bleached Black dabbled in a teeny bit of post-punk frothing, Chopper steers straight into the heart of buzzing power-pop chording, with Deal splintering notes all over the place on the way -- great "Bloodspill" -- and windmilling through the fulsome outro on "Nice Girls (Don't Explode)," the latter an indictment of tacit rascism. Deal and his rhythm section mates just wind up each of these songs until the crank won't turn anymore, then bounce off the walls for four minutes. What a good idea.
MICHAEL YOCKEL, CITY PAPER, Baltimore, MD. April 13,1990.

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