Simplified - review by Joseph Hartlaub at musicreviewer.com If you are in New Orleans and ask a group of thirty-somethings about The Pests, you will invariably be greeted with a couple of guys who start chanting "I hate my girlfriend!/and I hate my girlfriend's friends!" Yes indeed. The Pests, recently and blessedly reformed, are a punk legend whose shows around New Orleans in the mid-1990s were legendary events. While busily recreating the magic, and performing --- as well as recording --- new material, the reissue of Simplified, their debut CD, sounds every bit as great as it did when first released in 1995. Maybe even better. The Pests are a conundrum in the sense that while their music is informed by The Clash, they are --- and yeah, I'm going to say it out loud --- better than The Clash ever were. The Clash rode their entire career on the promise of one great disc --- GIVE 'EM ENOUGH ROPE --- and then tried valiantly to live up to it. Music fans coming up now listen to The Clash catalogue and ask, quite correctly, what the big deal was. Simplified is that promise, and fulfillment, all rolled up in one package of ten great songs, chewed up and spit out in under 30 minutes, that will ring in your ears for months on end. The Pests combine a sense of timing with unflagging energy and a wicked --- very wicked --- sense of humor. I Hate My Girlfriend, included on Simplified, is an excellent (though by no means the only) example of this. If your girlfriend isn't totally pissed off by the first two lines of this classic track, she will be by the third. If she's smiling and shaking her head, you've got a keeper. But. Simplified follows that up with Pass The Ass and Nazi Trot, among others. And no. I'm not going to go through all of the disclaimers of what Nazi Trot is, and isn't. Listen to this great, great track, with killer power chords delivered with authority, and turn it up until your ears bleed. If you're not laughing and singing along and playing air guitar by the end, I pity you. What people tend to miss, however, is that Steve (vocals, guitar), Chuck (bass, vocals), and Dino (drums) are not sacrificing technical prowess at the altar of speed and energy. If that was the case, the reissue of Simplified would be an interesting historical curiosity, but little else. No, this is a disc where everything came together perfectly, from the timing (I don't know what the punk equivalent for being in the pocket is, but The Pests do it here), to the recording and production values. That's not to say it's sterile; it's not. It's grimy where it ought and loose where it should be. It sounds like three guys came in, turned on a recorder, and laid everything down perfectly in a half-hour, boom-boom-boom. Actually, I think that's what happened. And I guarantee you that you can listen to Simplified one hundred times and you'll still love it. You can't say that about the f***ing Dave Matthews Band. Up For Anything, a follow-up of sorts to Simplified that was also released in 1999, is due for reissue as well. There's a new project being recorded even as I speak. The Pests are reformed, doing shows, and composing and recording again. God is good. And He's laughing too.