The Gun Club - Death Party [reissue] (Cover Artwork)

The Gun Club

Death Party [reissue] (2009)

Cooking Vinyl

The Gun Club played blues-y punk music in Los Angeles, Calif. in the ‘80s and their sound is much different than most punk bands'. The group's Death Party EP starts off with "The House on Highland Avenue." It's a slow song with a great chorus of "There is no fire in your glass heart / There is no beating when you're done / And one day you're going to find out / What kind of monster you've become." The next song, "The Lie," is the weakest track of the EP with an overly repetitive lyrics, although song contains some emotionally driven singing. "The Light of the World" is much better, but the winner of longest song for the EP goes to the titular track, which comes in at almost six minutes. It's a little overly rough for me with lyrics slurred to a point where I can barely understand what singer Jeffrey Lee Pierce is singing. However there is some excellent guitar work on the song. The final track, "Come Back Jim," has a driving beat from the get-go and Pierce's singing includes some great yelps. The song is sung with an urgency that matches its beat.

Now, this reissue comes with a bonus disc of a live concert from March 1983. I won't go too heavily into the live disc because I'm not a big fan of live albums and I really think of that disc as "bonus." It begins with an unrecognizable cover of "Strange Fruit" that is sung very hauntingly but also borders on dissonance thanks to the whole band playing behind Pierce's howling. Also included on the disc are "The Lie," "House on Highland Avenue" and "Death Party" from the EP. But this is an entire concert, so there are plenty of other selections from other Gun Club albums, such as the great song "Fire of Love" and, later, the flat-out shouted "Fire Spirit."

Make no mistake, there are some gems on here for sure, but Death Party is uneven and actually seems to alternate between truly great songs and songs that do little for me. To paraphrase a statement the kids like to say: this EP would have been a great seven-inch.