Pushing the post-punk hardcore envelope to its limit, Arab on Radar put out an album of singles and compilation tracks unlike any other. The Stolen Singlesis like a Godiva Chocolatier Sampler, packed with a collection of the band’s unapologetic extreme style. The compilation brings together tracks from early seven inches, including the splits with Locust and Kid Commando, with other hard-to-find, out-of-print, and never-released tracks from the band’s vaults. If you’ve never heard Arab on Radar before, this album is an excellent introduction to their music. Every track is evidence of their experimentation with music and rhythm, especially with their use of an insipid synthesizer and discordant guitar lines in “Piggin’ in The Pumpkin Patch,” one of the standouts on the album.
The album goes to both ends of the spectrum, defining the band’s evolution since they began in 1994, from their pop-punk tracks like “7.2” and “O. Henry” to their raucous jumble of loud guitar and screeching noise of “Samurai Fight Song.” Even stranger is that the bass line on the track “3 Meals Away From A Crack Whore” is so garbled it’s hard to pinpoint what instrument is actually being played. The only thing Arab needs to work on for their next album would have to be song writing — maybe then they’d be able to include liner notes. But what they lack lyrically they more than make up for with their amazing guitar riffs and intrepid experimentation with music that’s like a roller coaster ride. Each song is fresh and new and takes you for a spin. Not bad for a coupla kids from Rhode Island who met on a job interview in Connecticut.