CD REVIEW: Cold Blue Rebels - Love of the Undead (EP)
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Cold Blue rebels
CD: Love of the Undead (EP)
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Psychobilly, Punk Rock, retro 50’s rock
Sounds Like: Stray Cats, The Toadies, Black Flag, Social Distortion, Rancid
Technical Grade: 9/10
Weakness: EP release, Polarizing catalog
Code Blue rebels just released their latest 6 track EP entitled Love of the Undead (2014). The band is composed of three veteran Sunset Strip rockers: Mickey Finn - Vox/Harmonica, Danny Dangerous - Bass, Joe Normal - Guitar and a fresh-faced zombie drummer, Al Diablo, who have returned to haunt the nightclubs and howl with a sound that grows on you like moss on a crypt. Cold Blue Rebels trace their gnarled roots back to a twisted version of the birth pangs of fifties rock n’ roll, when Elvis Presley’s curled-lipped sneer met the startling onstage antics of Jerry Lee Lewis. Three decades later, in the heyday of the Sunset Strip, the demon seeds were planted when lead singer, Mickey Finn and his hard-rocking glam band Jetboy, signed with MCA records; and, Joe Normal and Danny Dangerous inked a deal with their purple-haired, glitter rock outfit, The Zeros.
The CD takes off nicely with “Love of the Undead” a jumpy little ditty with 50’s style guitar, meshed against danceable type rhythm, smooth as silk vocal delivery from Finn and catchy melody. Track 2 “Blood Sweat and Tears” makes a radical left turn and explodes in your face with low end groove, with melodic musical flow coupled with heartfelt vocal intensity. Track 3 “Haunted Hollywood” my personal favorite keeps things moving with its thought provoking lyrical content, pulsating psychedelic rock groove meshed with an infectious melody that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. How would I describe Cold Blue rebels? Imagine if the Stray Cats stole your lunch money, or were on steroids - that’s how I would describe them. The Cold Blue rebels are also not afraid to explore a more politically incurrent lyrical format as well. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of Cake, The Toadies, Kiss, Black Flag, and even Social Distortion, The White Stripes to Rancid. Right from the start you will notice these 4 feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. Make no mistake - this is retro 50’s style rockabilly with a side of Punk and Psychobilly. The overall musical vibe has a fusionist Punk Rock feel as well rich in color and personality. The guitar playing from Joe Normal is amazing and the band just grooves so well together. Normal dishes out impressive and melodic guitar licks and a few mesmerizing solos to boot. Equally as impressive is thick as a brick rhythm section via Stand-up Bass and drums. Finn delivers rock solid vocal timber and is full of passion and recklessness abandon. The musicianship from all the other members in the band has everything you would expect from a red hot Psychobilly band. All engineering aspects check out. CD possesses thick low end frequency and crystal clear high end clarity. I also didn’t fail to notice harmonica and a few solid vocal harmonies layered along the way either. The songs themselves are consistent musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair and signature groove. From rocking ‘Whip me One More Time” to melodic “That Girl is Horror” this CD has something for just about everyone. The EP ends with Track 6 “Zombie L.A.M.F” the perfect finale statement for an EP of this caliber.
Track 2 is bit to polarizing to me. I like the song a lot but it sounds like a different band altogether. If The Cold Blue Rebels go hard again they should keep it in the fairway of their retro sound. I typically deduct 1 star for EP releases. The Full Length CD is the best and most complete snapshot to judge an artists by at any given point in time.
In close Love of the Undead is an action packed production from start to finish. It’s strong suit – its retro feel almost as if you were watching a band play live in the studio. If these guys have a slam dunk live presentation in the back clubs of Holywood then that would be a very deadly combination no doubt. Beware this EP packs a powerful punch dishing out one solid song after the next like a 1-2 punch. The songs are extremely melodic, passionate and powerful – and will no doubt get your adrenalin pumping and your feet shuffling.