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CD REVIEWS : * 1/2 China White, “Addiction”, <i> Lethal Records</i>

The distinct difference between old-school and new-school punk is very apparent in “Addiction.”

Unfortunately for old-school alum China White, old punk is no more immune from sounding dated than any other rock genre.

The Huntington Beach-based band--guitarist Frank Ruffino, bassist Corey Stretz, singer Jeff Porter and drummer James Lugo--has been pretty much missing in action since it released its first record, “Danger Zone,” in 1981. It’s hard to tell whether this return to the public eye is an attempt to reap some of the fortune that’s being bestowed on such new-school punk bands as Offspring and Green Day or to make a statement about what the group thinks punk rock should sound like.

Except for “Aggro,” the most original song on the album, the music gets bogged down in excesses that briefly seemed original when they were first heard back in the late-'70s and early-'80s.

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There’s plenty of Sex Pistols power chords and even an “Anarchy in the U.K."-sounding song called “Govt. Cloud.” There’s also a classic Misfits wah-wah feedback opening on another track.

But it rarely sounds like anything more than a lame stroll down memory lane.

Not all punk bands need sound like Rancid, Pennywise, NOFX, Face to Face, Bad Religion or even Orange County’s own Guttermouth. While punk indeed is a state of mind, China White seems to have forgotten that the music also must have a heart and soul. “Addiction” is soulless and tired.

(Available from Lethal Records, P.O. Box 14868, Long Beach, CA 90803-1414.)

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