MISFITS MEET THE NUTLEY BRASS


"Fiend Club Lounge" (Misfits Records / Ryko; 2005)

Reviewed by Ray Van Horn Jr.

Now playing in your local all-night supermarket, gynecology office and All-You-Can-Eat Chinese emporium: The Misfits!

Half a point for its creativity, one full point for its sheer balls... I came to this nutty project with eager anticipation, honestly I did. I do have a soft spot in my heart for ridiculous novelty offshoots like Lounge Against the Machine or Iron Horse. It's usually a fleeting, in-the-moment kind of appreciation that is usually undone by the next serious album, but nonetheless, when well-executed, the art of the music parody is kind of cool when kept in the proper perspective.

So why didn't I dig "Fiend Club Lounge," a Muzak hater's absolute nightmare? When you consider this question, it scores a point in favor of The Nutley Brass' twisted mastermind, Sam Elwitt. After all, how does one accelerate the splatterpunk terror of the long-defunct Misfits, who left their maniacal and frequently off-key twist on rock'n'roll before Glenn Danzig got serious with Samhain and his solo ventures? Suffice it to say, The Misfits have garnished themselves a large cult audience over the years, which is the point I'm about to make with "Fiend Club Lounge."

This "tribute" album is beyond bizarre, beyond homage ... its synthesized strippings are so tacky it seems strained much of the time and therefore the mark of a cash cow. How else to market a band of far-flung popularity to newer generations than thinking of ways to tweak and twist the existing material? In the case of "Fiend Club Lounge," it's to serve a cheese-and-crackers (partaken with a martini, not wine in this instance) affair that is partially affectionate but mostly self-serving. The fact the album is billed as "loungecore" is likewise pretentious. I mean, come on.

"Fiend Club Lounge" requires more of a sense of humor than actual patience. It many ways, it's so terrible the reticence left in its wake is unforgivable. However, as deliberately crummy as much of these lounge covers are, you still find yourself singing the choruses to "Hatebreeders," "Teenagers From Mars" and "Attitude," and trust me, you'll kick yourself while you're doing it, but there won't be a single person out there familiar with The Misfits' material that won't find themselves shouting "I ain't no goddamn son of a bitch!" in tandem with the nervy reworking of "Where Eagles Dare." 

As much as I want to slag "Fiend Club Lounge," I have to give Sam Elwitt a bit of due credit for adding texture to his interpretations that don't exist on The Misfits' original scratchy and screechy recordings. I also get Elwitt's joke, but because I was expecting more of an instrumental lounge act, which would've made Fiend Club Lounge a brilliant novelty enterprise, I found myself instead thinking back to my teenaged grocery clerk job ... Clean up in aisle eight!


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 15 Mar 2017 23:33:43 -0500 .