Horrorpops - Hell Yeah! (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Hell Yeah! (2004)


This was the last thing I was looking forward to this year. While I think there's a ton of interesting ground that the psychobilly movement could be exploring, the majority of bands that cross my plate would rather stick to the genre's b-horror movie shtick rather than take a more adventurous path. The initial press for Horrorpops featured the usual imagery and even the frontman of Nekromantix, a band that's a lot of fun but dosen't hesitate to lay on the kitsch. From such an introduction one assumes HorrorPops are simply a female fronted Nekromantix with go-go dancers.

That's only partly true. While the influence of the Danish psychos is easy to see, Kim Nekroman takes a backseat to the captivating presence of frontwoman / bassist Patricia. While it's easy to underestimate her and the band on paper, Hell Yeah! is surprisingly engrossing and satisfyingly original. At different moments Patricia's vocals call to mind Deborah Harry, Gwen Stefani and even Ronnie Spector. The influence of 60s girl-group pop and 80s new wave make this far from typical psychobilly, a label I'm finding far too narrow to describe this band's songwriting.

"Julia" kicks things off with a shameless lifting of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" bass line and introduces Patricia to those of us outside the Netherlands in fairly typical psychobilly fashion. However the poppy "Drama Queen" leaves that mold behind, even more so with the snotty rock of "Ghouls" and the 2-tone "Girl In a Cage." "Where They Wander" is classic punk rock, followed by the greaser rockabilly of "Kool Flattop." The number of styles the band pulls off cohesively is quite a feat. It's the kind adventurous and roots acknowledging songwriting from which great albums are made.

This record will inevitably be ignored by image conscious indie-snobs put off by the band's less-than-serious imagery. They'll go into this expecting some level of irony to justify the band's over-the-top visuals but won't find it. However artwork aside, Hell Yeah! is packed with so much infectious songwriting that there's no need to fall back on the usual trappings of the psychobilly genre. Give this a chance, because HorrorPops have the variety, style and ultimately the staying power that's missing from so many punk bands today.