AMERIKAN GOTHICK (Alice In…)
~review by Mick Mercer
I hadn’t heard anything by this band since a tape in the mid 90’s so this was an interesting rampage for me. They say they’re Gothic/Deathrock, but they’re got that whole Pomp Goth thing going on, with various Rock stylings bursting through, which could be disastrous, or could be intriguing.
Here at Intriguing Central ‘Sodom Elementary’ is engaging fetish froth which drifts into ‘Alice In Gothland’ where post-Nirvana guitar lassoes Goth vocals and pulls tight. ‘Days Of The Dead’ has a massive Big Hair chorus slapped into the atmospheric surrounds, and ‘Mardi Gras Masqurade’ gets lovingly skittish and bouncy. They have lifer and lift.
‘Vampire Circus’ is thickly clotted, rousing stuff, the slow, and moody ‘Blue Melancholy Death’ swings on twisted orchestral hinges as an anguished ballad truly should, and then they start creeping uphill. First it’s the portly ‘Lament Of The Undead’ full of ghastly rasping, then ‘Transylvania’ is a clattering behemoth, hacking at you deliriously, and ‘Everyday Is Halloween’ is a heated Ministry cover given a rawk twang. ‘Black Dahlia’ is a magnificent, seismic Gawf Rawk romp, with strangler’s hands operating the guitar and a wonderful vocal display sucking you into the morass, and ‘Mr Styx’ is equally torrid, with coquettishly clunky guitar strains, quivering vocals and a sensationally corrupt chorus. (It’s worth buying this for that alone.)
‘Vincent Price’ is a fairly sloppy punky outing, and ‘Skull Love’ doesn’t seem much, being straight ahead punk guitar-basted mania, but has another precocious chorus, and by the time ‘Ghoul Parlor’ gets fired up you realise this is the sort of thing LAM might do, if they were harder, or DeSade must aim towards. They have influences galore in their guts, but have crafted something you can’t simply compare to any bigger band. Often the rockier side threatens to dwarf their personable touches, but then the keyboards will set off like early Blondie on fire, or the rhythm becomes too adventurous for plain rock castigation, and they step up another gear and grind relentlessly.
Sure, ‘Ghost Parade’ starts fairly feeble, comparatively, but it creaks in a sub-Alice Cooper vein and crackles filthily. ‘Boris Karloff’ is simple-minded drivel, and ‘Dead Lover’s Blues’ takes forever to do little more than sound angry over grandiloquent guitar (showing why Myssouri are so good at what they do!), and it doesn’t matter what you do with ‘Paint It Black’ in my opinion, it’s a shit song, and at best it could be said they tickle it playfully
A live ‘Lady Death’ sends this off with a scalding eruption of vomit, and yes, I’m impressed, because despite those lapses towards the end into traditional rock sewage, the main body of work reeks of heady perfume and seriously seedy intentions. Don’t expect fragrant, sensitive fare and you’ll be fine.
They’re total turmoil.