CD Review

London After Midnight’s “Oddities”

By Dan Century

London After MidnightIt'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 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?

OdditiesSuffice it to say, if you're already a London After Midnight fan you'll love it. There's even one of those bonus tracks…track 72…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 spelled inside-out"*?

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 90's.

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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