The following review of the Neo Boys’ Sooner Or Later [KLP242] was found in the zine Dynamite Hemorrhage #1.
“Nothing has changed/everything has changed since the brief five years that the Neo Boys existed from 1978 to 1983. Over two decades after four ladies in Portland, Oregon came together to make their own simultaneously uncertain & powerfully confident noise, women of the underground are still struggling to be recognized as equals with their male peers & the act of a girl picking up a guitar or a pair of drumsticks or a microphone is still a revolutionary act. Like their contemporaries the Wipers or the Rats (with the pre-Dead Moon Fred & Toody Cole), the Neo Boys’ approach to punk was one deeply rooted in the frustrations & nihilism bred in an era when Portland (and the Pacific Northwest in general) was still a fucked-up cultural backwoods; a place where it was up to the girls, queers, weirdos & freaks to channel their alienation into creating their own brand of smart & uncompromising musical rebellion as escape. In this LP’s linear notes, Neo Boys bassist KT Kincaid pays tribute to dozens of women who were crucial figures in the Northwest punk scene of the late ’70s/early ’80s, but in many ways, the list of their far-from-familiar names stands in contrast to some of the well-known men (the Dils, DOA, the Wipers, et al) billed on the show flyers & posters reproduced inside the gatefold sleeve, in case anyone needs more evidence that reissues like this one are vital, necessary corrections of past oversights that have denied so many brave women noisemakers their due.
This anthology collects both of the Neo Boys’ proper releases (their self-titled 7″ from 1980 & the Crumbling Myths EP from 1982) with a treasure trove of demo recordings, live tracks & other sonic ephemera previously at risk of being lost to the ages. You can literally hear their musical evolution, not just from the punk era, but also the transformation of their endearingly shaky & hesitant playing into boldly coloring outside of the lines, rejecting more rigid punk conformity in their creation of a blueprint for countless feminist punks of the future ( see: the before & after versions of stone-cold ’80s underground classic “Never Comes Down”). It’s no coincidence that modern torchbearers Grass Widow covered the Neo Boys “Time Keeps Time” side-by-side with Wire‘s “Mannequin” on a recent single – hopefully this sprawling retrospective will make the Neo Boys an equally recognizable name in discriminating post-punk households, because it’s long overdue.”
- Erika Elizabeth, “What’s the Deal with Fucking Record Reviews.” Dynamite Hemorrhage #1, November 2013. Print.