The Scared Stiffs start out their “Autopsy Turvy” in a pretty weak set of straits. There is a heavy amount of rockabilly influence, but there is virtually no energy beyond “When Monsters Fall In Love”. The guitar work sounds put together without any audience in mind; there is skill in playing this but nothing really that hits the primal chords of someone’s heart. Each of the track continues this overly-done style of horror-ish punk (this seems more influenced by The Misfits than being a direct descendent of the band).
While there seems to be a skill throughout all of these tracks (in terms of instrumentation), there is little in the way of experimentation and derivation from the formula first laid out on “Autopsy Turvy”. What does actually work in The Scared Stiffs’ favor is that each of the tracks on the disc are short, so that the repetition that makes up such a large part of the band changes up constantly. There seems to be too much reliance on the older rock styles, so that instead of just sounding like all of the other punkabilly bands that saturate the market, The Scared Stiffs also sound like all the overplayed rock garbage that saturate the classical rock market. The band simply does not make a play for any listeners based on their own talent; the major play on this disc is to draw listeners based on “Leader of the Pack” or “Great Balls of Fire”. Moving on to the teenager sob songs of the fifties for “Pale Grey Eyes”, The Scared Stiffs again show that they can come out with a catchy hook even if they cannot really break free from the rock chains that bind them at every point on “Autopsy Turvy”.
“Graveyard Girlfriend” is really a track that stands for the entirety of the disc; the topic matter has been done to death, the Ramones-type of arrangement is stale, and the guitar solo really seems to be paint by numbers instead of something that fits and befits the rest of the track. The problem is not simply having too many tracks on “Autopsy Turvy”, but rather something more fundamental. The band needs to stop playing their vinyl and sit down, trying to figure out what their contribution to the genre is going to be. Simply aping other bands that came before you is not the way for a band to make a name for theirselves.
Top Tracks: Satellite, Haunted
The Scared Stiffs – Autopsy Turvy / 2005 Poptown / 15 Tracks / http://www.thescaredstiffs.com / http://www.poptownrecords.com / Reviewed 30 January 2006