Bubble / Mutiny Records, 1997
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/20/1997
And now for the continuing adventures of vocalist Taime Downe. When we last left our hero way back in January, I had pretty much raked him and his former band Faster Pussycat across the coals. He had disappeared into the annals of history, and one thought we may have heard the last of him.
Fast forward to about six weeks ago, when an unannounced package arrived from Downe's new band, The Newlydeads. Their self-titled debut album moved away from the glam-metal that made Downe infamous and put him into a musical setting he admitted in the bio he felt more comfortable with - industrial.
To be honest, I really did not look forward to listening to this disc. But, what the hell, in the name of science...
Sure enough, Downe's style is better suited for the electronic world of distortion we've come to know and love courtesy of groups like Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and KMFDM. While Downe and bandmate Kyle K. are no Trent Reznor, they do a damn fine job creating their own voice.
The first sign of promise comes on the second track, "In Denial." Downe's voice has lost little of the sneer he had with Faster Pussycat, but this new musical form seems to free him from the shackles of cock-rock. Sure, some of the lyrics are a bit benign, but I'm willing to cut Downe a little slack in the name of crafting a good song.
And, for the most part, The Newlydeads do an excellent job. "Skin Tight Skin" is quite danceable, while "Free Weapons" is the standout on the disc (and, in my opinion, is way too short). I even find "Prick" to be humorous, even though the song seems to talk about the angst of an outcast. I could be wrong here - industrial is sometimes a very difficult form of music to decipher meaning from.
The surprise gem on The Newlydeads is a cover of Siouxie And The Banshees' "Cities In Dust," complete with the vocal from Siouxie Sioux herself (I can't tell if it's a new vocal or dubbed from the original single, though).
But as with almost any new band, there are a few potholes on this one. I don't know if it was necessary to include two versions of "Melting" on this disc, and the opening track "Submission" is not the easiest song to get into. The one big mistake the band makes is the uncredited bonus track, an industrial version of "Silent Night" - big mistake, for I don't find it to be a good version (never mind the religious overtones) and a waste of time.
Still, for a first effort, Downe has been able to convince me that he does have something worthwhile to say in the music world. If The Newlydeads can continue to toughen up and tighten up their act (and they probably will, seeing the band has just expanded to a five-piece), they may just give Nine Inch Nails a run for their money.