TURN IT DOWN: A survey of Lansing’s musical landscape
|By Rich Tupica|
Haunting and howling: New album shows psychobilly bands songwriting chopsThe Goddamn Gallows is more than your run-of-the-mill psychobilly band. The Lansing gang of punks may exert some traditional rockabilly customs, but after listening to the band’s new album, “Ghost of the Rails,” it’s abundantly clear these guys are darker and more lyrically thoughtful than most of their peers in the genre.
The album opens with “Heaven,” an eerie and feverish tune that borders on Goth-inspired, black-metal stomp.
The band’s trademark, evil back-up vocals are showcased heavily on “Smoke Satan.” While Mikey Classic sings lead, Baby Genius (drums), Avery (washboard) and Fishgutz (stand-up bass) belt-out sinister back-up screams that could easily be the demented voices in your head telling you to “Do it.”
The jangly banjo riff that starts “Pass the Bottle” is the first slower tune on the album. It sounds as if it was written by a crew of drunken outlaws sitting around a campfire, until the chorus erupts into a galloping frenzy of country-punk.
Just when your ears become accustomed to ballads, “City of Hell” revamps the album with a jolt of thrash metal, while not straying far from the band’s punk sensibility.
The album ends with “Ticket to Bleed,” a killer tune with oddness that would have made Screamin’ Jay Hawkins proud. With menacing cackles, blabbering and nonsensical ad-libbing, the band closes a brilliant record with a quirky song done tastefully, not an easy feat to accomplish.
A word of advice for those who plan to pick up this album: crank up the loud-nfast tunes, but just be sure to listen a little closer to the slower, moodier ones.
Visit the band online at www.myspace.com/thegallowspdx.
The Goddamn Gallows