The line that separates cool and lame is especially thin for psychobilly and horror punk, which inherently revels in cheese. Unfortunately, Montreal’s The Brains don’t have the snarl or swagger to sell it.
The drums and bass are fast, sometimes blistering, but they have a tightly-tuned, poppy quality. Likewise, the vocals and choruses may be singing the usual psychobilly motifs, but they’re too clean, cutesy, and fluttery. The tunes are catchy and filled with whoa-ohs, but they are missing necessary piss n’ vinegar.
It sounds weird to hear a guy sing about his evil deeds, such as on “In League,” with such a well-natured and, well, stereotypically Canadian politeness. When he sings “Oh Satan, can I make a deal with you? / Is there something I can do? / Anything you choose,” he sounds like a nerdy teenager nervously asking a girl out on a date.
One exception is “Oh Murder!” which has an angry hardcore feel. If they could inject some of that edge into their music, this would be a more fun listen.
Bottom Line: 3 stars because they’re good and have the chops – they just need more balls.
Notable Tracks: Six Rounds, Oh Murder!, High on Speed