ALL MUSIC GUIDE - 2005
Zero Boys - Vicious Circle

When he walked into Keystone Recording in Indianapolis on
August 18, 1981, Zero Boys singer Paul Mahern told producer/
engineer John Helms he wanted his band's debut LP to "sound
like the Germs' GI," released two years prior. "He really nailed
it!" laughed Mahern recently. Much agreed: Few records have
ever sounded this whizbang buzzing. And whereas GI transformed
an apallingly shambolic L.A. band into a shocking powerhouse,
Vicious Circle merely snared a smokin' Indiana band that'd
been rehearsing five hours a day - so tight they spun this
corker out in just two days, by recording live together. It still
bursts out of your speaker on CD as it did off a needle when
released on Nimrod 19 years ago. Terry Hollywood's razor-zinging
guitar and Tufty Clough's Speedy Gonzalez' bing-bing-bing bass
playing (fastest fingers in the Midwest) burn like blowtorches,
and drummer Mark Cutsinger plays like he IV'ed amphetamines.
Mahern sings like a hurrying rabbit, rapid-firing words about
assassinations/celebrity-shootings, anti-nostalgia, having a
"high time," and, well, doing speed. Whereas other records of
the new hardcore scene tried to sound tough, this was like
Johnny Thunders, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Dictators, and S.L.F.
on 45, smiling like dopes. Reissued with two bonus tracks
from the same session, Vicious Circle remains a vicious pleasure
of frenzied attitude, chops, speed, tight playing, and rocket-
launching zeal.