The Coffin Lids – ‘Round Midnight (CD)

Imagine the Ramones, add a little bit of the earliest gothabilly put forth by 45 Grave, and throw in just a hint of the Misfits to come forth with “Frankenstein”, The Coffin Lids’ first output on “’Round Midmight”. The Lids have a minor hiccup in the repetition that drags down “Teenage Shakedown”; the guitar solo on the track is almost long enough to erase all memory of this rut. Place in a little nod to the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” and the Lids have recovered nicely from the beginning of the track.

While the element of repletion can be used to create a cohesion between a band’s track, The Coffin Lids continually push the envelope in coming back to the same well numerous times in each of the tracks on “’Round Midnight”. The songs have a very solid sound, but the repletion more often than not acts like a drill, irritating instead of titillating. The minor shift during “Walk A Mile In My Shoes” brings The Coffin Lids into the camp of “Let’s Lynch The Landlord”-era Dead Kennedys. The premise that The Coffin Lids operate on – a psychedelic version of punk that also ties together rockabilly – is great in theory but lacks something in practice. Sure, there are ample amounts of solos and catchy vocals, but the aforementioned over-repetition and lack of thematic expansion really causes this disc to suffer, even in its earliest stages. A strength to this album is the extreme shortness of most of the tracks here; songs go quickly if a listen can’t find any reason to listen, while longer tracks (like “I’m Going To Have My Way”) succeed and indeed even thrive in their more cushy environments.

To be honest, it almost feels like The Coffin Lids get stronger with each subsequent tracks; “Action” brings the entire band to weigh in on whether the track succeeds and fails. With the inclusion of a more active type of bass line throughout, “Action” comes through not as an exercise in repetition but rather a fresh body that kicks throughout. “’Round Midnight” is an album that is created by a set of humans, and this means that not every track is created equal. The style of “Kick Out Of You” tends to drag on instead of evoke emotional impact, but tracks like “Shake” tend to operate on some primeval, dance level of the human psyche that operates even if the track is not the epitome of originality.

Top Tracks: Shake, Walk a Mile In My Shoes

Rating: 5.1/10

The Coffin Lids – ‘Round Midnight / 2005 Bomp! / 14 Tracks / http://www.coffinlids.com / http://www.bomp.com / Reviewed 08 December 2005

[JMcQ]

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