Album Review: Brains – Zombie Nation

The Brains

Zombie Nation

They’re coming for you…Psychobilly band, The Brains is back with their 4th major release. Aptly named Zombie Nation, it’s dedicated to blood, guts and feasts of flesh.
The sound of this album leans a little towards classic Swing and Rockabilly.  This is especially noticeable in ‘We Gotta Go’ which sounds a bit like the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and ‘Sweeter Than Wine’ which takes on a more loungey feel.  Overall, most tracks are upbeat, upright-bass-slappin’ fun.
To ensure that they’re still filed in the Psychobilly/Horrorbilly genre, The Brains keep their lyrics evil; almost to a fault.  Especially enjoyable is their macabre, tongue-in-cheek fusions of sex and horror.  Like in ‘Sweeter Than Wine’; “Take you down, you know what I mean. Make you moan then make you scream.” And ‘I Don’t Care’; “I keep love buried deep inside a shallow grave. Sometimes I dig it up to play.”
The Brains have been criticized in the past for vague storytelling, something they fall victim to again with Zombie Nation.  This is especially noticeable in ‘Screaming’. The whole song is about some bloody and wet girl that he sees everywhere and in his nightmares…but with no explanation of who/what/when/where or why.  Other songs like ‘Evil Never Dies’ leave something to be desired, with poorly constructed lyrics and weak rhyming (“brain” with “pain”, “me” with “me”)
Out of all the monster bands in Montreal, very few of them perform in French.  Zombie Nation pays respect to the band’s roots and features ‘Après Cette Nuit’ (‘After Tonight’), the only French Psychobilly song that I’ve heard so far.  They also cover Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy the Silence’, which takes on a creepier meaning when paired with zombie imagery.  Especially lyrics like “All I ever wanted, all I ever needed is here in my arms.”
The Brains show off their connections by working with many artists of note from the close-knit horror community.  Members of established Psychobilly band, Mad Sin, lend their talents.  As do members of Resurex and Blood Sucking Zombies from Outer Space.  Ashlea Wessel and Ghoulish Gary Pullin of Rue Morgue Magazine provide cover and insert art.
This is probably not the most revolutionary of albums; it sticks fairly close to Psycho and Horrorbilly conventions.  They’ve got the stand up bass, the zombie makeup and the undead lyrics.  At the same time though, these traits are what makes it appealing.  Psychobilly fans will enjoy it and the rest of you, well, you just need to…join us.
Track List

  1. R.I.P (intro)
  2. We’ll Rise*
  3. We Gotta Go
  4. Screaming
  5. Apres Cette Nuit*
  6. Devil’s Crossroads
  7. Sweeter Than Wine
  8. Spaghetti Western
  9. As I Stand
  10. Zombie Nation*
  11. I Don’t Care
  12. Evil Never Dies
  13. Mexikaners
  14. Enjoy the Silence*

* Worth a listen!


(Original publication: Bring Back the Boom Box Magazine- June 29 2010)


About J2

What happens when you're a wordsy music aficionado who works for NXNE, CMW, HPX, Olio Music Festival, The JUNOs and Polaris Music Prize? You spend all of your free time blogging about it... Follow on Twitter if you're so inclined: @HearPlugged

Posted on March 7, 2011, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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