Grim Fandango - Birthmark Blues (Cover Artwork)

Grim Fandango

Birthmark Blues (2010)

Poison City

Australian foursome Grim Fandango (from Perth on the west coast) have finally completed work on their debut album, Birthmark Blues. Recorded (at Adelaide's Capitalsound Studios) and produced by Mike Deslandes and James Balderston, and mastered by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering (Fugazi, Big Black, Eddy Current Suppression Ring), Birthmark Blues is 13 tracks of hook-laden, punk-fueled power-pop. It is the band's followup to their 2008 debut EP, IV: Eat Not the Heart and a 2009 split release with Melbourne's Kill Whitey. It's also their first record on Melbourne record label Poison City.

Singer Tom Ware's raw voice is a standout against jangly guitars and driving rhythms. Birthmark Blues tries to replicate the band's ferocious live sound. Tracks like "Promises! Promises!" (cheekily followed up by banjos and hoedowns in "Excuses! Excuses!"), "Cotton Wool Kids" and "Horseland" showcase the band's country-influenced punk rock perfectly. "All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane" is another track that stands out with its catchy, passionate chorus.

Not as good as their debut EP, but still a very solid album, and as the band continues to grow and find new parts of themselves, they can only get better. For fans of Hot Water Music and Lucero with a touch of Hüsker Dü, and with so many more in between there is a little in here for everyone.