Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cocktails and Carnage

When you think of horror inspired music what do you usually think of? Is it the horror punk anthems of golden age Misfits, complete with sing-along choruses, glorious devilocks and of course the satanic croon of the mighty Danzig? Is it the atmospheric syntho-prog rock of Goblin, weaving electronic webs of inorganic terror? Perhaps it’s the cacophony of full tilt heavy metal, with distortion drenched guitars, a thundering drum beat and lyrics hinting at an alliance with the Prince of Lies himself? More than likely one if not all of these sounds popped into your head at the thought of horror inspired music and not jaunty, upbeat melodies played acoustically with the odd treat of a mandolin or glockenspiel thrown into the mix, right? That’s because you have never witnessed the delight that is Harley Poe.

The path trodden by Harley Poe has been one fraught with both trials and tribulations, a shaky start of grinding through different members left fans of the band with some uncertainty as to whether they would make it through to the next release, but the pulsating undead heart of the music, frontman Joe Whiteford, persisted with the tenacity of one of the walking dead with an insatiable hunger for fresh, human brains. We’ll never know whether it was radiation, a comet, the resurrecting powers of Trioxin or just the sheer determination to survive of Mister Whiteford, but something of a less than natural nature won out in delivering us the solid lineup that is the current incarnation of Harley Poe.

I was first exposed to Harley Poe by a good friend of mine, Zakk, we have eerily similar tastes in pretty much everything to the extent that I sometimes wonder if maybe he is actually just my very own Tyler Durden, in a taller, better looking and decidedly male version of my ideal self. I can remember him popping online and ranting about this new band that I HAD to listen to. So, I had a dig around, found their myspace page and was as converted as he was. Their music is as infectious as a zombie’s bite and you find yourself singing along to choruses, clapping your hands and tapping your feet within that very first listen. Once those melodies and lyrics are locked into your brain, it’s not long before you find yourself wandering down the street under a swollen harvest moon singing tales of murder, revenge or unrequited love with a glazed and distant look in your eyes. Try to explain to your neighbour, at three o’clock in the morning why you are belting out, “I don’t want you, I waaaaaaaaaaaant your blood!!” or perhaps why you are merrily proclaiming, “Cold and wet and dirty. You’re looking mighty purdy, but I just don’t understand why a dead girl’s gotta be the one true love for me, I’m a Corpse Grinding Man!”. . . . especially when you are a short, little, round chick.

Never has deviancy, depression or psychosis sounded so particularly cheery, nor has it ever had the true ability to get the whole household, despite their feelings on horror culture, to sing along with smiles as wide as good old Bruce as he sinks his row upon row of serrated teeth into Quint’s boat. Harley Poe deserve a long and illustrious career, telling tales of ghouls and vampires, love beyond the grave and the high school nerd’s ultimate revenge until they themselves need the aid of a voodoo priest to resurrect their weary bones. Do the right thing people, get out there, listen to the music of Harley Poe and support the independent music scene by buying ALL of their back catalogue. Seriously. Do it, like, now.

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