London After Midnights Oddities
By Dan Century
It's been a long time since
I've had a date with a "Gothic Chick," but I've kept an ear open to the latest
bands, just in case I chance upon that Germanic Snow Princess Goddess - veiled
in fog and patchouli - and she wants to talk about her favorite bands. Sure,
she cut her teeth on the Cure, Echo, Joy Division, Bauhaus...then came Sisters
and 4AD...she made the mistake of buying Ministry's With Sympathy...now she
listens to Opium Den and London After Midnight...
Not that I've been avoiding them, but...before
Oddities I've never consciously listened to London After Midnight. The
Irony is: Oddities is a collection of rare, unreleased and live acoustic
songs - a must for fans - maybe not the best introduction for a new listener,
but it's not half bad. In fact, I'll go as far as to say it's pretty good for
what it is
not great, not a classic, but pretty good. I can definitely see
why all the Gothic Chicks dig this band (this is the quote their record company
should print on stickers and slap on the CD).
The recording quality is great for live songs and songs
originally not intended for release on an album. Sure, the bass could be
deeper, the drums need more kick and the samples could be better mixed, but the
overall sound is very clear. Maybe these are "doctored" live songs, like KISS
did in the 70's. Who knows? Who cares?
Suffice it to say, if you're already a
London After Midnight fan you'll love it. There's even one of those bonus
a (another) Christmas song.
The album starts out with a schmaltzy Christmas Song. I'm
not a big fan of bands doing Christmas songs unless Santa is being humiliated
somewhere in the lyrics. By the way, have you noticed that "Santa is Satan
For the most part the rest of the songs are atmospheric
gothic ballads, very reminiscent of Bauhaus, but with spookier guitar leads -
the kind of stuff Goth Chicks live for. They mix in some metal, a pinch of
Skinny Puppy and maybe some Legendary Pink Dots, maybe not. The best song on
the album, the angry, pounding, pissed-off A Letter To God, sounds a lot
like Psychotica, Marilyn Manson and Ministry side project Lard - actually,
considering that London After Midnight has been around longer than Manson and
Psychotica, it' s clear who's ripping off who.
There are a couple of "cringers" on the album. The song
Atmosphere is like a bad poetry reading. I hate most poetry readings,
especially when I'm sober. Sally's Song is a weak Kurt Weil tribute. If
you want to hear a band that can play a mean Kurt Weil, check out the stuff the
Young Gods released on Play It Again Sam in the late 80's and early
If you already love London After Midnight, you'll love this
album. If you don't already love them, ask a sexy Gothic individual out on a
date and when they say, "What do you want to listen to?" say, Oddities,
and get ready to score! ;)
* George Carlin
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