Government Issue: John Stabb (vocals); J. Robbins (bass guitar); Peter Moffett (drums); Tom Lyle.
Personnel: J. Robbins (vocals); Tom Lyle (guitar).
Audio Mixers: Robert Bowers; Eric L.; Jerry Williams, Jr. .
Liner Note Author: John Stabb.
Recording information: Black Pond (06/??/1987-05/17/1989); Fox (06/??/1987-05/17/1989); Lion (06/??/1987-05/17/1989); Los Altos HIlls, CA (06/??/1987-05/17/1989); Marble Bar, Baltimore Maryland (06/??/1987-05/17/1989); Ritz, New York, NY (06/??/1987-05/17/1989); Scorpion, University Of Pennsylvania (06/??/1987-05/17/1989).
A rare case where a Volume Two is the far superior. Part of that was basic evolution: D.C.'s GI began as an inferior hardcore thrash band (with a singular frontman in John Stabb, who earned all admiration the moment he appeared on-stage wearing bondage clown pants as a statement!), but they were cogs in the original Dischord D.C. scene. Within a few years, they improved drastically on more potent LPs like Joyride and The Fun Just Never Ends, and then made a jump into more unique post-punk with 1986's self-titled record (all chronicled on Complete History, Vol. 1). But the rest of their breakthrough on Vol. 2 is a key lineup change, as 1987's fantastic "You," which leads off this double-disc, shows in spades. A quantum leap in hefty, precise, pure power, "You" was clearly the result of the addition of a new, hot rhythm section in J. Robbins on bass (Jawbox, Burning Airlines) and drummer Peter Moffet (Wool, Burning Airlines). The pair's added harmonies (especially), superb playing, chops, and dexterity fit perfectly with Stabb and guitarist Tom Lyle's clear plan to cut all ties with lame hardcore cretins, while maintaining the big-guitar edge and bomb-running melodies of their punk roots. Drop in elements of psychedelia and 1979--1983, Damned-like singing from Stabb, and his usual challenging lyrics (he was clearly beating himself up over a disastrous relationship with a too-young girl, but still had time to rightly chide the brain-dead remnants of post-1983 punk rockers in "Hole in the Scene"), and you have one of the best punk-inspired LPs of the mid-'80s. Stabb says, in these liner notes, "Whenever someone is unfamiliar with the name GI, introduce them to this album." Indeed. The addition of their final studio LP, Crash (nearly as good, if a little more of a melange of different stuff, including some minor hard rock leanings), and an entire second disc of primo live recordings of this ultimate lineup make it even more of a rock-solid pick. ~ Jack Rabid