SUICIDE LOUNGE (Orphanage)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer
First of it isn’t very good, just so you’re not kept on tenterhooks, but it is often good fun, and it does make some sparks fly. It is also authentically certified Deathrock, with the punk innards are the biggest influence and the now departed (left, not dead!) singer Sarah Deathriage reminded me partly of Kat Arthur (Legal Weapon) and partly an inferior version of George from Action Pact.
We’re back in the early 80’s. Times was ‘ard. And singers had Sarah’s voice - all face and neck – meaning the mouth opens, the jaws lock tight and the sound rips and rasps out of a throat so taut you can almost hear the vocal chords shredding. This means virtually no range or fluctuations in the singing (as proved throughout this record) and you’re dependent on character alone. Luckily she writes the lyrics and gives them the conviction they deserve, otherwise this might sound liker Vice Squad, and none of us would want that.
What happens here is the guitar starts and then the bass comes in, as if nervous. They then charge off together with her screeching, and it’s nice, it really is, with some lyrics that impress, reliably noisy guitar throughout and some good, surging choruses, even if there isn’t one memorable melody to be had. It’s about the overall effect in a way, and they’re probably a good night out. What they need is control and more layers to highlight their better points. Too often when a song needed the bass to be brought through to provide some actual texture for the guitar to then play off they just kept on trundling along, and that gets boring, verging on what was always called Rentapunk back in the day, which in America in this scene means they’re like a third division Screaming Sneakers.
There was one odd moment, when it seemed ‘Escape’ might be their punk version of Del Shannon’s ‘Runaway’, but it wasn’t, and the vocals are ghastly. Only ‘In The Eleven’ and the title track are they spunkily seen to fully rise out of the feisty mire in fine fierce fashion. The majority just goes graarrgghhhheeeeeeee.