It’s that time of the year again. Hellish ghouls, ghosts, and goblins will roam the night. Glowing orange jack-o-lanterns sneer from every door step. Witches gather to cast their unholy spells. Vampires rise from their coffins with an unending thirst for blood. Cursed werewolves howl their pain out to an unsympathetic moon. Zombies hunt for human brains to sate their terrible hunger. That’s right -- Halloween is almost here! And as punk rockers, you are searching for the perfect soundtrack to get you in the mood, right? Well, you are in luck because the Lillingtons are back! Yes, ladies and gentleman, the creepy cool three-piece punk band from Newcastle, Wyoming has returned from the dead to kick all of our asses with more tunes about aliens, zombies, and spies.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this band, they self-released their first album Shit Out Of Luck in 1996. This classic featured more of a standard pop-punk sound in the vein of Screeching Weasel or the Queers. The lyrics to their songs from this time period all dealt mostly with the usual pop-punk subjects: girls. They followed Shit Out Of Luck up with a couple of vinyl-only releases with a similar sound. By 1999, the band had grown tired of the limiting paint-by-numbers pop-punk sound and decided to go for something different for their next album. They recruited the services of producer Mass Giorgini and went into the studio to record their masterpiece, Death by Television. Their sound on this album became darker, faster, tighter, and louder, and the lyrical content changed to sci-fi and horror themes. I’ve heard their sound described as “the Misfits crossed with the Ramones” and I’d say that is pretty accurate. Death by Television was very well received in the punk community, Fat Mike from NOFX has been quoted as saying that record was “The best pop-punk album of all time.” The Lillingtons followed this with one more album, 2001’s The Back Channel Broadcast and then announced that they were breaking up. The band members moved on to other projects, singer Kody joining Teenage Bottlerocket (a great pop-punk band in their own right), and drummer Timmy V forming Stabbed in Back.
In 2005 the record label Red Scare re-released the band’s back catalogue, and rumblings began that, just like all good monsters, the Lillingtons may not be dead quite yet. Then, to the delight of fans everywhere, these undead ghouls crept from their early graves and confirmed that, not only were they reforming, but they would be recording a new album entitled The Too Late Show. Now, just in time for All Hallows' Eve, The Too Late Show is here. So, how is it?
Well, if you are a fan of their last two albums, you shouldn’t be disappointed. This one features the same tight playing, buzzsaw guitar sound, verse/chorus/verse song structure, and B-movie themed lyrics. The album begins with what I think is the weakest track on it, “Gunbullet.” But it only gets better from there. Standouts include “All I Hear Is Static,” “Mars vs. Hollywood,” and “Stay Tuned.”
I do not think that this is the Lillingtons' best album -- that honor would go to Death by Television. I do, however, like it better than Broadcast, as the sound of each song from it did not vary much, sounding almost like one long song. DBTV’s songs varied more musically and lyrically, but still formed a cohesive whole together. The Too Late Show falls somewhere in between those too records -- not as monotonous as Broadcast yet not as varied as Death by Television.
I like the album very much, have been listening to it nonstop since I got it, but it is not without its flaws. Like I said, if you like the Lillingtons' back catalog you will like this too. However, if you are new to the band I would recommend starting with Death by Television. Now I only hope that these children of the night decide to stay together and provide us with more horror and sci-fi themed punk tunes for many years to come. L-I-L-L-ING-TONS!