Five Cellars Below

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Most modern-day bands who are attempting the whole horror movie and hardcore hybrid start with the Misfits, the American pioneers of the style. At the very least, they pay homage to the glammy/gothy death rock scene of Los Angeles in the early '80s, with bands like .45 Grave and Christian Death. Blitzkid, on the other hand, sound like their main teachers were that early-'80s period of the Damned when singer Dave Vanian was dressing up like a pantomime Dracula and the band was releasing such self-consciously giggly horror spoofs as "Video Nasty." Five Cellars Below isn't serious in the least, and its brand of punk is of the three-chord ramalama variety so beloved of Ramones and Undertones fans. Singers Argyle Goolsby and T.B. Monstrosity, despite their taste for Halloween makeup and lyrics out of Roger Corman (or at least the Cramps), have oddly pop-oriented and immediately appealing vocals that sound more like old-school skinny-tie power poppers than sore-throat punk screamers. "Starlite Decay" even features a good old-fashioned new wave sax solo! An instantly charming, even endearing record, Five Cellars Below is the musical equivalent of SCTV's Count Floyd: the fact that it's not the least bit scary is a big part of the goofy fun.

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