Please Mr. Gravedigger

Here's to the Life of the Party

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David Bowie fans who happen to pick up Please Mr. Gravedigger's debut album Here's to the Life of the Party because the band is named after one of his oldest songs are in for a nasty surprise. Hardly the stuff of pre-Ziggy psych-folk, the sextet actually fuses punk and hardcore energy with a dollop of alternative rock moodiness, a dash of Nuggets-like garage attitude, and a smidgeon of emo. As such, the opening tandem of "Diagnosis" and "Sedation Nation" are righteously enthusiastic outbursts, but it's the third track, "Last Call," that really makes things interesting when it pauses for breath on a slow, memorable riff, and finally allows the band's heretofore barely noticeable keyboards to seep through the mix. Next number "My Darling Mina" is just as surprising for its abnormally slow pacing, but its warring guitar parts and singer Tommy Garcia's torn-larynx-screeches maintain the all-around intensity at a high level, regardless. From here on out, the record moves forward in waves, alternating furious thrashings like "The Operator" and "Autonomy," with inventive, harder to pin down quasi-alt rockers like "Twenty Seven" (shades of the Knack?!) and "We've Made a Comeback." In short, Here's to the Life of the Party delivers an unexpectedly diverse and memorable ride, pretty much from start to finish.

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