Zombina and the Skeletones – Death Valley High – Part 2

Okay, perhaps you need to know a little more.

ZombinaZombina and the Skeletones are a fun little horror-themed punk band from Liverpool. Death Valley High is the album they released back in 2006. Following on from the well-received 2004 album “Taste The Blood Of Zombina and the Skeletones“, Death Valley High was made following the band’s discovery that they couldn’t afford to make the horror film they had intended. Thwarted by finances, they instead decided to make their next album a concept album – the concept being the plot of their intended movie.

And what a plot. The album initially takes us on a ride through a typical B-movie romance: bad boy meets lonely, geeky girl, professes his love for her, then cheats on her at the school prom. Where the album differs, is in that it fails to end with the boy coming to his senses and making the innocent girl happy. Instead, the innocent girl cracks, cuts the new girl’s head off at the prom, is placed in a mental asylum, escapes, gets her hands on a dissolvo ray and brings about the end of the world.

Had time to sink in? Good. Fortunately, the ‘interesting’ storyline isn’t all the album has going for it. Whereas Taste The Blood Of… was a pretty straightforward pop-punk album with some fun lyrics (and a stand-out track in the form of Nobody Likes You When You’re Dead), Death Valley High offers a much more eclectic experience. While pop- and punk- sensibilities are present in most of the tracks on the album, the style still changes drastically between songs, with the a cappella Guess What?! and hammond organ-backed tragic ballad The Fragile Heart springing immediately to mind as both particularly unusual, and particularly great tracks on the album.

Indeed, while the album may lack anything quite on a par with Nobody Likes You When You’re Dead as far as standalone songs go, it manages to be a far better album than Taste The Blood Of… could hope to be: the tracks work together perfectly, managing to drastically change pace and mood without ever breaking the flow of the album, and the quality of the songs stays consistently high.

As with all music there’s only so far words can guide you, of course. To really appreciate the exuberance and joy of this album you have to listen to it. Sadly, while their myspace page does feature four of the tracks for your listening pleasure, it can’t hope to replicate the experience of listening to the album as a whole, so you’re just going to have to buy, borrow or steal the album for yourself.

If you choose the first option, you might want to try looking on Rough Trade. Well, if you’re British. The rest of you’ll probably want to look elsewhere for your Zombina kicks, I’m afraid.

Ghoulish out of Fourteen

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