Considering the spree of comebacks, tribute albums and reunion tours which have punctuated the '90s, it should come as no surprise that The Misfits should return to cash in on their old glory. What is unexpected is that, unlike most resurrected bands, The Misfits have actually improved.
After a lengthy hiatus which saw original members Jerry Only and Doyle embroiled in a legal battle against former vocalist Glenn Danzig, the band reformed. Dr. Chud fills the revolving-door role of drummer, while Michale Graves takes the band to a new level, with a vocal style evokingwith grim flair the spooky aura that The Misfits are renowned for.
American Psycho, the band's first original release in over 10 years, plunges the listener right back into the world of grave robbers, alien attacks and brain-munching zombies in which the original Misfits dwelt. The production is infinitely better than any previous Misfits release, but the raw punk power and musical integrity has not been lost.
Listening to the 18 tracks is like watching an afternoon of classic horror movies, right down to the eerie introduction of "The Abominable Dr. Phibes." Another notable track is "Mars Attacks", which was inspired by the original trading cards and intended for the movie soundtrack. "Dig Up Her Bones" is probably the closest thing The Misfits will ever have to a love ballad.
The Misfits' latest offering should satisfy even the most cynical fan. Whether American Psycho truly heralds a new beginning for the resurrected Misfits or merely one last dying twitch remains to be seen.
Mark Di Menna
Canadian music is finally taking its turn in the spotlight. With all the recent, well-deserved attention drawn by artists such as Sarah McLachlan, the Tea Party and of course, The Tragically Hip, Canadian bands are finally getting a shot at solid air time while establishing themselves as a subculture with actual talent, rather than one-shot wonders.
Hoping to follow the road paved by such Canadian greats are the Beat Prophets, fronted by Torontonian Johnny Douglas. Douglas is in no way new to the industry his past includes dabbling in Hemingway Corner and writing/producing for fellow canucks Jeff Healey and Junkhouse. However, Douglas' experience proves not enough to launch the Beat Prophets and their self-titled debut album into immediate stardom. Although their subdued garage-rock sound does have potential, this album is a series of hits and misses as they try to iron out a distinctive sound and style.
Tracks like "For Your Love," "Sky Falls" and "Obsession" have similar ambiguity in their melodies, with the run of the mill "I love you you hurt me I can't trust anyone" lyrics. "Don't Look Down" and "Burning" are more of the same, unmemorable and uninspired. Even Douglas seems bored as he kind of walks through each track as if he's singing a song for the millionth time one that he never liked in the first place.
The band's potential does come through with tracks like "Cats" and "Monkey Boy" that are much more playful and reflective of actual personality. The highlight of the album is "Hey Kid," a song about growing a thick skin and life shooting you down cheesy, yes, but from the heart and honest.
Once the Beat Prophets have more time to develop their own style, they will no doubt produce quality albums with a feel somewhat akin to the Odds. But in order for that to happen they need to take more chances with their sound something lacking from this album or they will be doomed to always be the opener and never the show.
The Crystal Method
Crystal Method may very well be Uncle Sam's answer to the Chemical Brothers. At first glance, their debut LP Vegas seems to be a nostalgic tribute to their glitzy hometown, as the album's cover art features a relic 60s automobile beside a mod casino. If you like electronica, or more specifically breakbeat, this album is worth a risk.
Although breakbeat has a tendency to fall into a stagnant consistency, Crystal Method seems intent on breaking the mold. Whacked-out, often obscure vocal samples, evil acid-lines and tough-as-nails beats exploding in scrambled energy create a dynamic listening experience.
Not willing to be categorized, The Method also experiment with mellow drum-n-bass "She's my Pusher" and trip-hop "High Roller" and "Bad Stone". However, despite all attempts at creativity, this album falls into a familiar monotony which is likely due to the limited territory of the music.
The techno connoisseur should not be dissuaded, as The Crystal Method is still quite underground and their music is not as radio-friendly as might be expected from a major label artist.