VH1's Bands Reunited finally yielded a long-term success with their episode on New Jersey critic-favorites Dramarama. (thankfully, the Kajagoogoo reunion was a one-time event.) Bandleader John Easdale had been putting together a solo record, and based on the good vibes from both bandmates and fans, decided to bring in Peter Wood and Mark Englert to put the Dramarama seal of approval on it. Opening uncharacteristically with a sparse mandolin and vocal, the ghoulishly titled Everybody Dies neatly picks up where 1993's Hi-Fi Sci-Fi left off, with Easdale leading the band through another taut set of snarly rockers, poignant ballads, and sly pop deviations. The title track, inspired by a close friends losing battle with esophageal cancer, takes on the afterlife with hedonistic glee--"I know lots of dead people/you know lots of dead people/every single second something dies." It's like a Grim Reaper Romper Room sing-along. Easdale keeps the irony factor high throughout, aping a 1950s night club crooner on "When Did You Leave Heaven" and taking potshots at white trash America on the second of thirteen "Untitled Track"s--only four of which are legit--but there are enough moments of soulful sobriety to keep the whole affair balanced, which makes Everybody Dies a sure bet for longtime fans. Let's just hope the rest of the world gives them a listen this time.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger