After the huge success of A Series of Unfortunate Events, accordionist/screenwriter/author Daniel Handler, better known as nefarious children's writer Lemony Snicket, asked longtime friend and musical collaborator Stephin Merritt (Handler has done time with the Magnetic Fields and the 6ths), to contribute some songs to the widely popular series' audio books. Tragic Treasury: Songs from a Series of Unfortunate Events is the first full-length recording from Merritt's Gothic Archies, a novelty project that began in 1997 with the New Despair EP, and its' not-so-subtle blend of Dr. Seuss imagery and carnival ride dynamics, bolstered by Merritt's impeccable faux-goth delivery (he sounds eerily like the Sister of Mercy Andrew Eldritch) serves the story well. All of the 13 songs that appeared on the audio books are present, as well as two bonus tracks. One of these, "Walking My Gargoyle," is an extra from the ninth book in the series, Carnivorous Carnival, while the other, "We are the Gothic Archies," serves as the band's theme song. Merritt doesn't deviate from his signature lo-fi synth pop and brooding vocals, but he certainly sounds like he's having a whole lot of fun, something the listener will attain as well, as long as they don't expect anything that bears the irreverent emotional weight that he's applied to previous projects.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger