Dwarves: The Dwarves Are Born Again (MDV)

Chicago's seminal punk/thrash band Dwarves has foundered since the mid-'80s, partially due to aggressive genre-hopping and antagonizing, politically incorrect lyrics and cover art.

Since the 1990 classic Blood Guts and Pussy, the band has produced a number of albums in which erratic style changes have caused dissention among its punk-rock fan base. The Dwarves Are Born Again finds the band returning to its guitar-heavy punk stylings—with a desire to mix styles within the confines of punk rock.

"Looking Out for Number One" and "You'll Never Take Us Alive" delve into poppier punk riffs, which dominate the album. The manic style of pop-punk showcases the band's ability to confound lesser bands at their own game, incorporating acidic lyrics into backup vocals complete with "oooh"s and "ahhh"s. Thrashier songs like "15 Minutes" and "We Only Came to Get High" are more sparse, but are excellent samplings of the hard-core sound that most Dwarves fans fell in love with in the early '90s.

The album comes with a bonus DVD of live performances and hijinks; it could easily stand alone.

The title of the band's previous album, The Dwarves Must Die, supposedly signaled the end of Dwarves. Now, according to the band's website, Born Again is absolutely the final album. With less-original punk bands sweating to the oldies, fans can only hope the band keeps going.

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