Video Nasties

Video Nasties

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Portland, Maine residents B.R. Garm and Chris Livengood used to be in a psych-folk band called Visitations, and eventually spun off into a Suicide tribute act called AM Frank. Both bands disintegrated, but they took AM Frank as a starting point for their next venture, Video Nasties. Active since 2011, the group's songs are themed around the types of gruesome, gory, sleazy films alluded to by the band name. On "The Hardest Video," they go so far as to describe their subject as "the one you go to jail for," taunting "afraid to watch?" The band's eponymous theme song also throws out terms like "decapitation," "mutilation," and "cannibal holocaust," before going back to the shady video store down the corner and checking out more filth. The music itself is a suitably creepy brand of synth-punk, certainly influenced by Suicide and Chrome as well as the darker, stranger side of new wave -- early Devo, the Cure, Gary Numan/Tubeway Army, and that's only scratching the surface. The drum machines are sparse and frigid, but they're surrounded by queasy synths, fizzling guitars, and gobs of wacky echo effects. The vocals are sometimes delivered in a Kraftwerk-ian monotone, delivering short, direct statements like "zoom in, zoom out," but other times they take the form of a drunken yelp, which is made all the more perverted by the multitude of effects piled on them. On "Horror Holocaust," they indulge in their Giorgio Moroder fixation for a slice of slimy dungeon disco. "Fishy Smell" is perhaps the most traditionally punk-sounding song, except for the fact that they treat audio tape as an instrument, scratching it up like it's a turntable. The group nod to early Public Image Ltd. with a dubby track called "Jah Wobble," but the song lacks the fury of John Lydon. Still, Video Nasties is a fun, completely tasteless romp only recommended to those who can handle it.

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