Friday, April 02, 2010

The Von Drats — Dratsylvania
If you believe this band's bio, it formed in Dratsylvania and relocated to Toronto in 2005. I don't believe it, but I'm not going to argue with a sextet wherein all of the members wear make-up to resemble creepy skeleton-like creatures and share the same last name like The Ramones. And besides, after listening to this self-produced debut album that was just released by Stereo Dynamite, I'm just happy that The Von Drats are part of my city.
This is primarily an instrumental album driven by Dave Von Drat's Farfisa organ (and I'm a total sucker for the Farfisa) and the twin guitars of Steve and Trevor Von Drat. Drummer Leonard Von Drat makes himself particularly conspicuous on a few tracks, including the bouncy, fun and only mildly spooky "Cemetary Stomp."
The opening title track and its closing reprise go heavy on scary sound effects, but most of the other cuts rely on the group's instrumental prowess to impress with an approach that features lots of surf elements, doses of reverb, dollops of horror punk and large helpings of vintage garage rock.
The title gets mentioned a couple of times in "Los Tigres Del Nortes," and there are actual lyrics to "Catch Fire" and "Torso Alley," a song about an axe murderer. A few more numbers with singing would have been appreciated to break things up a bit more, but perhaps we'll hear those on album two.
The Von Drats' music isn't particularly original, but the group is quite good at what it does.
I'm surprised and disappointed that I haven't yet got around to seeing the band perform, but hopefully that will change soon. Dratsylvania seems like a place I wouldn't mind spending some time in.

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