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Reviews CD Reviews Horror-Punk, Gothbilly Rosemary's Babies- Talking to the Dead


  Artist: Rosemary's Babies
CD Title: Talking to the Dead
Label: Ghastly Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 5/24/05

With a whopping 20 studio tracks and 5 live tracks from a 1983 performance at CBGB's, Rosemary's Babies' Talking to the Dead more or less compiles the punk band's complete recordings and, miraculously, clocks in at under 40 minutes (and that's including 7 minutes of blank space before the disc's *cough* bonus track *cough*). The band, including drummer Eerie Von, who would later go on to play bass for Samhain and Danzig, rips through a lightning-fast set of songs, none reaching the 2-minute mark save for the album's 3-minute closing instrumental bonus track. The result is a fairly interesting and energetic outing, albeit one that can, at times, be incomprehensible, with 30-second ultra-fast tracks sometimes blurring into an indistinguishable cacophony amid more recognizable, melodic offerings.

The performances and production here are fairly solid; at least taking into account the speed of the material and the fact that said speed occasionally leads to semi-slurred, often incomprehensible shouted vocals. The sound quality is also remarkably good considering the age and likely condition of the master tapes. From the 13-second explosion that is "What I Hate" to the band's rendition of "The Green Hornet Theme", the album is a cohesive blend of raw punk energy and attitude, sometimes serious and angst-ridden and, at other times, witty and tongue-in-cheek. Noteworthy moments include the lively "Sex Maniac", with vocalist J.R.'s slightly quirky repetition of the track's title, the semi-catchy and politically charged "I Vote Yes", the amusing incorporation of country licks and a southern accent into "Attack of the 50ft Cowboy", the energetic "Alice In Murderland", the Twilight Zone-esque intro of "Dead Zone", and the great choppy chorus of "Small Minds Think Small". The live tracks are also fairly proficient and faithful to their studio counterparts.

The band's penchant for simple, aggressive, high-speed 1-minute punk dirges is interesting and well realized albeit, perhaps, a wee bit less captivating than the more melodic and substantial material offered by some of their peers. Despite having a few defining moments, there really aren't many songs here that contain a particularly memorable hook or noteworthy melody that sets them apart from the rest. Rather, the album works more as a whole, and, in that regard, is a rather good vintage hardcore punk offering. Most of the material here is, apparently, previously unreleased save for a fairly limited 1983 EP release, so hardcore punk fans, particularly fans of the Misfits and Eerie Von's other work, will likely jump at the chance to own this brief but comprehensive remastered collection of studio and live tapes.

 

Ghastly Records website: www.ghastlyrecords.com

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