While the novelty of The Ramoms’ existence is impossible to ignore (at first glance, the band looks like an obvious answer to the question of what happens when Riot Grrls reach the age when they become soccer moms), it’s also impossible to deny the inherent possibility of a group of women reimagining Ramones music with a fresh approach that isn’t too far off of the original, but is different enough that it feels fresh and exciting. Simply stated, the Problem Child 7” is fluff wrapped in a studded leather bracelet, and the kind of fun which could only come in a post-punk world – but listeners will find they’re having as much fun with the music as the band clearly was when they committed these three songs to wax.
As soon as stylus touches vinyl on the A-side of this single and “Gritty Is A Punk” opens the running, listeners will know precisely what they’re getting and will be swept away by it, if they’re willing to play along.
The guitars supplied by Sharon Ramom sear and crunch just the same way Johnny Ramone’s did, and instantly get listeners of the right mind lined up and ready to go [the chord progression is very, very similar to that of “Judy Is A Punk”] – that doesn’t mean the performance is just a knock-off cover with a different lyric sheet, though. Rather, the rhythm section of Molly and Ginger Ramom (bass and drums, respectively) removes all of the stiff and rigid delivery that The Ramones’ original performance featured and gives the cut some sway that can only be characterized as ‘uniquely female.’
Here, the song suddenly seems to grow some hips and walks with an attitude which is instantly more attention-grabbing than any other cover of “Judy Is A Punk” which is currently on the books – it walks with purpose and confidence, instead of just running nervously.
The same is true of the Ramoms’ reimagining of “Blitzkrieg Bop,” which has been re-christened “Boogie Not Snot” for this single. Of course, purists will complain about the more “kiddie”-angle (which, yes, is now all about mucus, and arranged for after-school drive time on the stereo in a minivan) turn that the band has taken, but they’ll quiet down just like the kids for whom this cover was recorded when they hear the chorus of kindergarteners belt out the “Hey ho, Let’s go” refrain which closes the cut.
With the kids’ help, The Ramoms are easily capable of making believers out of every critic positioned to scoff at this single; the kids’ chant brings with it a sense of fun and belief which is impossible to deny and will leave those critics who STILL want to try and scoff at what The Ramoms are doing looking stiff, old and rejected but any punk who hears the single.
Simply said, the two A-side cuts are the story on this single and the cover of “Rockaway Beach” which appears on the B-side (which is actually a straight cover – just a great, earnest performance of a well-loved Ramones song) as the filler and the concession made for the fuddie duddies who just can’t get over themselves and realize how good an idea The Ramoms are onto here.
So, anyway, needless to say that it really doesn’t take long at all to play one’s way through the entirety of Problem Child single. It’s short, it’s sweet, it’s in-out-and-done, but Problem Child brings with it the seed of innocence and sweetness from which nobody who loves kids can turn away. Anybody who ever got told they had a bad attitude or had a bad reputation when they were under the age of majority will find a kindred spirit here, and will definitely want to share it far and wide with their friends, their kids and their kids’ friends.
(Pirates Press Records)
The Problem Child 7” is out now. Buy it here from Pirates Press Records. https://shop.piratespressrecords.com/products/ramoms-problem-child-7