CD Review

Zombina and the Skeletones – “Death Valley High”

By Marcus Pan

Death Valley HighUK’s favorite zombie rockers return with new music as opposed to re-released singles[1]. This time we have a soundtrack to a horror movie that they never got around to finishing due to the difficulty of a movie project. So they just lobbed out the music instead – maybe someday the movie will be made. The concept? A high school slasher, teenage horror-addict gone psycho fucks up the ones that crack on her daily. Standard…a bit of Devo and a mad scientist thrown in for good measure. The songs follow the acts and scenes of the movie, even explained nicely throughout the press kit making this review quite easy to write. Thanks you guys! I’m sorry I didn’t have time to fill out the report card that came with it, listing each track and requesting a grade and comments.

How’s the music? Pretty good – Zombina’s past work I enjoy more, but the staple 4/4 rhythms, rock’n’roll guitars and Zombina’s spit-shined vocals help to make Death Valley High their usual brand of fun on plastic. Lost Boys is a favorite, with punk style guitars riffed in the end by anthem-like drum/vocal solos and weird synth melodies. Tracks will go quickly from one to the other, and do to its punk natue you won’t notice you’re halfway through the album.

At the Megaplex is Zombina at their best, with a doo-wop styling and Zombina’s sickly sweet vocals crooning in your ear. The jarring alarm that wakes you up to My T.V. brings you into another fast paced doo wop dirge with sarcastic harmonies and catchy tunage. Villain has a weirdness flair to it, making it a favorite of mine. We continue along to Prom Night, a slap happy bit of fluffy fun in the style of acapella do wop groups.

By the time Your Girlfriend’s Head comes around, shit goes awry. Your Girlfriend’s Head is a fast paced near-thrash punk tune with interesting calliope style backing synths. People are dying now as our erstwhile anti-hero, Janie, starts ripping shit up in Carrie style at the prom. The Fragile Heart is a soft, sweet ballad – Janie’s last goodbye before being stuffed in a rubber room following her prom night decapitation stunt.

We enter Act III of the story now, as Janie undergoes her treatment – which, of course, only serves to fuck her up even more. This is, after all, a b-cult horror movie right? She gets her hand on a wacky laser and goes nutty ever moreso in Janie’s Got a Dissolvo Ray and you can even see the green and red beams of Crayola drawn special effects as the final scenes of Death Valley High play out backed by bass-laden funky punk and silly keyboard movements making the whole thing snazzily cheezy. Only this time – Janie lives! I suppose we should get ready for her next rampage in the sequel.

I still like Zombina when they make something new. Death Valley High could have been better recorded and produced, upping the volume’s a bit, but one shouldn’t complain about garage rock really I suppose. If you like dead things, blood, guts and science fiction going horror on yo’ ass, Death Valley High is a fun punk album – there’s nothing like lunacy to brighten your cold Winter nights.

Contact Information:
Ectoplastic Records
Post: PO Box 123, Liverpool, L17 2WX, United Kingdom
Phone: 07814 164455
[1] See my review of their Monsters on 45 release.