Sound — 9
If you've heard their debut, you already know what these guys are about: Not a huge amount of technical skill, but incredible instincts for creating thrilling noise and more panache than any other punk band. Guitarists Sylvain Sylvain and Johnny Thunders play off each other to great effect and David Johanson sings with the same gusto and sense of fun he had on "New York Dolls."
The production's tighter this time around, but more constraints just means there's more for the Dolls to buck against. "Babylon" and "Human Being" sound louder than anything on their debut, and therefore more punk. On top of it all, producer Shadow Morton adds anything he can to the fray: gongs, gunshots and even female backing vocalists. The overall results are only marginally weaker than those on "New York Dolls," which I feel had more interesting guitar work.
Lyrics — 9
Only half of these songs feature David Johanson in the song writing credits (On their debut he wrote 10 of the 11 tracks). The rest of run time is filled with obscure covers and a Johnny Thunders original. The latter, "Chatterbox", beats the snarling attitude of the London punk scene by three years (Sid Vicious would later perform it at Max's Kansas City). Of the four covers on "Too Much, Too Soon," three are utterly inspired and hilarious: "Showdown" features Johnson challenging some chump to a dance off; he almost gets eaten alive in "Stranded in the Jungle"; and he's paying homage to the Charlie Chan films in "Bad Detective". The only cover that falls flat is "Don't Start Me Talking": trying to convert Chicago blues into proto-punk isn't as inspired as it sounds on paper.
As for the Johanson originals, none of the tracks tower as much as "Frankenstein" or "Personality Crisis." But that doesn't mean he still hasn't got the old magic: "If I'm acting like a king/ Well that's cause I'm a human being!," "All the boys and girls think he's too easy game/ Don't you the boots are making him lame?" They're funny, sexy and outrageous, matching with the music perfectly. Another weak track: "It's Too Late" is a bit mean spirited for the a band as fun as the Dolls. But 4 out of 5 ain't bad.
Overall Impression — 9
"Too Much Too Soon" distinguishes itself from "New York Dolls" by featuring more of a '50s/'60s influence and by being funnier, and whilst it's not as good as their debut, it's definitely worth your time and money. Although they were outranked by The Clash and Ramones, no punk band were as fun or sexy as the Dolls, and if you've only heard their debut then you're in for a treat. Although two of the ten tracks fall flat, the rest will hit you like a fix and a kiss.
Best tracks: "Bad Detective" and "Puss N Boots."