No Angel EP (Self release)
~reviewed by Uncle Nemesis
A new EP from Montreal’s engagingly sleazy horror-rockers. Five tracks of ramalama spookiness, clamourous guitars and blat-and-splatter drums. Imagine what the Runaways would’ve sounded like if they’d been brought up on a diet of horror movies from an early age; think of the songs the New York Dolls would’ve written if they’d been locked in a basement with only spiders for company for a year. That’ll give you Bordello’s musical area in a nutshell. They’ve got that seventies-glam guitar sound, that low-slung rock ‘n’ roll attitude, and, in Nadzine, a singer with an assertive, sandpaper rasp of a voice, a blues diva for the deathrock generation.
The music here appears to have been recorded live in one take in the studio - at any rate, the sound is raw, immediate, unpolished. There’s none of the compression or smoothed-out production you’d normally expect on a conventional studio recording. That’s good, in that it gives you the real rockin’ Bordello sound, loud and in yer face - but it’s not so good in that these tracks will inevitably sound rather rough when played back to back with other artists’ material on a radio station or in a club. In particular, there are moments where Nadzine’s voice is almost swamped when the instruments pile in - a slightly tarted-up mix would’ve surely pushed her vocals a little more to the fore.
But for all that, this is good stuff: glam-punky rock with a grinning pumpkin for a head. The title track wallops along like vintage Penetration, while ‘Sandman’ is a pell-mell barrelhouse rocker, the twin guitars obviously having fun as they kick the riff about like a football. ‘Echoes’ crash-lands on the kind of latter-day punk territory in which Antiworld have made their home, while ‘Heart Of Storm’ is almost a deathrock power ballad (now there’s a frightening concept) with suitably melodramatic lyrics: ‘A wide open chest, filled with fire/And this heart of storm, burning with desire’. Put a Jim Steinman production on that, and Bonnie Tyler could probably take it into the charts.
But the standout track - certainly, the one which any self-respecting deathrock club DJ should be playing to, er, death - is ‘Undead’. This has a rather throwaway lyric - ‘Dance the undead baby/Dance the night away’ - but makes up for it with a bad-ass blues rhythm, all stalking bass and swaggering guitars, and a big, rowdy, rambunctious arrangement into which the band seem to be throwing everything they’ve got, and more besides. A real cuban heel stomper of a song that’s crying out for grand-finale status on any deathrockin’ dancefloor.
There’s no barcode on the packaging, so I assume this EP isn’t widely distributed. If you want one - and if you’ve got a glam-punk atom in your brain you really should - you’ll have to contact Bordello via their website, and I’m sure they’ll sort you out. Alternatively, if you’re within striking distance of the band’s home city of Montreal, I dare say you’ll be able to pick one up at a Bordello gig. The band seem to play around Montreal fairly frequently, but not, as far as I can gather, much further afield. That’s one thing which must surely change in the near future, because Bordello are far too good to stay just a home-town band for much longer.
The website: http://www.bordello.ca
Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis: http://www.nemesis.to