Release DetailsLABEL Horror High
RELEASED ON 6/1/2005
Punk Rock Is Dead
posted on 6/2005 By:
Ah, crap. It happens to even the best of us every now and then, so eventually was bound to happen to an average joe like me. That is, finding yourself enjoying an album that you not only expected not to like, but also fully realizing that you like it more than you probably should. There are a dozen things to criticize, but it’s so damn catchy that it hooks you quickly, spreading rapidly like some kind of infectious...shitpox, and the next thing you know you’re in the car singing along with the song you smirked at not a day before. I’ve got me a mean case of the shitpox. Ironically, I ended up enjoying the new Michale Graves album for the same reason I expected to hate it when I signed up to review it. Namely, I am a big fan of the Misfits. The original Misfits. When Graves, Jerry Only and boys set out in the late 90's to systematically denigrate the name of one of the best punk rock bands of all time, I was, well, lets say less than pleased. The revamped band’s first effort, 1997's American Psycho, had some highlights, but overall the album did little to live up to the moniker on its cover. Still, I couldn’t entirely discount the album. It’s kind of like when my wife and I went on our honeymoon to Jamaica. I opened one of the Pepsis in the fridge and quickly realized that even though the bottle said Pepsi, and its contents were brown and bubbly, this Jamaican bottled crap was not what I was accustomed to. But I drank it all week anyway (between LOTS of scotch). American Psycho is a lot like Jamaican Pepsi. Nowhere near as good as the real thing, but it may do in a pinch. The band’s follow up effort, Famous Monsters, failed to even reach that mark, and after two or three listens I ditched the album, giving up on Misfits for good. My assumption about Michale Graves’ Punk Rock Is Dead was that if new Misfits was Jamaican Pepsi that his solo work would only be much worse. I was wrong though. Punk Rock Is Dead will tickle your Misfits funny bone while existing out from under the weight of the band’s legacy.
While speculation about the quality of material may have been reasonable, there was little doubt about what type of material would make up Punk Rock Is Dead. Graves and Co. deliver the short (if you can’t say it in 2 minutes or less, it ain’t worth saying), campy, horror movie, sing along punk rock one would expect from this project. It’s a familiar sound, and what ultimately makes the album a hell of a lot of fun. The music is moderately less heavy than American Psycho, but many of the vocal melodies, the bread and butter of this style, are better composed. Although some songs don’t work as well (“Radio Deadly”, “Dawn of the Dead” and the title track), overall the album has less filler than American Psycho. The major difference with the vocal approach is that this album uses far less of the group vocal melodies that were so prevalent in Misfits. Graves is at his best when he keeps his horror business right up front on songs like “Teenage Monster”, “Godzilla”, and “Earth Vs Spider”. The songs are short, simple, and infectious. What is respectable about the song writing is that although the album is painfully one dimensional, the songs flow well and rarely feel repetitive, as Graves keeps a consistent approach but varies the melodies well. It’s a short album, but its twenty eight minute run time is probably a good choice, as the album starts to run out of steam toward the end.
This album may find a limited audience at MetalReview, but if you dig ghoulish Misfits style horror filled punk rock, you should check out the sample tracks on Graves’ site. I would take this over stuff like Murderdolls eight days a week. Its limitations are clear, but Punk Rock Is Dead is still a fun listen.
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