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All Gone Dead CDAll Gone Dead
Fallen And Forgotten (Strobelight)

 

If you've caught a live show by All Gone Dead recently, you'll know that they're rampaging glam-punks on stage, a splatter of sound and colour shoved in your face like a gleefully hurled pot of paint. But the band give us a somewhat more measured version of themselves on this album. It kicks all right, but without quite booting you cheerfully in the nuts like the live show. Perhaps the reason for this is that Fallen And Forgotten was recorded by just the two main members of the band, Stitch and Darlin' Grave, who between them supply guitar, bass, and programming. Thus it is that the album sometimes sounds like what it is: two people and some software, rather than a full-on band. Steve, All Gone Dead's live guitarist, who single handedly increases the band's in-yer-face punkzoid attitude by a large amount, is not featured here. The songs are spiky post-punkish workouts, assembled with fearless grace and assurance, but overall there's a sense that All Gone Dead are taking care, keeping things neat and precise, rather than really letting go. Once you've got your head round that essential fact, this is a good album, even if it's not quite the pot of paint in the face.

'The Holy City Of Karbala', a snaggle-toothed monster of a song in its live incarnation, is rather more restrained here, an apocalyptic scenario sketched out with a certain told-you-so satisfaction. 'Newspeak (Room 101)' features some synthesized chorus sounds ('Aaaaahhhhh....') which sound weirdly like the kind of effects diehard DIY goth bands such as All Living Fear like to use. Maybe that's the UK goth scene influence creeping in to the All Gone Dead sound. But then, before you know it, they've gone all Chameleons with the massed guitars of 'Just 80 All Gone DeadMiles West', and then they've cranked up the bass to Play Dead levels of grittiness for 'Skritch 'n' Skrill'. That bass gets shoved up front again most effectively on 'Cedric Kane', a rhythmic beast which sounds like the band's next club hit, no less. The chorus - an ironic 'Dance, kids, go go!' - might be as cheesy as a block of ripe Stilton, but the song is actually a sarcastic mock-anthem dealing with war as the all-puropose solution to everything. Nevertheless, as a cue to leap up and punch the air, it can't be bettered.

I think All Gone Dead have certainly got a great album inside them. This isn't quite it - to get an idea of the band's full potential I think you'd need to see them kicking these songs around live. When they nail their live energy into the recording studio - ah, then we'll see some fireworks. Until then, Fallen And Forgotten counts as a confident shove in the right direction.

 

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