Gangland Ballads & The Death Sex Set

How do I like thee? Let me count the ways.

One: The record label name, which evokes vivid images of a martial arts massacre in the skies over Midway circa 1943 between Shang-Chi, Master Of Kung Fu and Enemy Ace, The Hammer Of Hell.

Two: The convoluted album title, which syntactically twists the tongue in the best My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult tradition.

Three: The cover, which looks like a detail from Burne Hogarth’s Dynamic Anatomy after a scorch-session in Sing Sing’s electric chair.

Four: The vital stats. Six songs, 20 minutes, no waiting.

Five: The singer situation, part one. Jennifer Taylor gets compared to Chrissie Hynde, which not only is dead wrong but irrefutable proof that today’s history-deprived younger generation of so-called music critics were all conceived during Paul Young’s duet with Alison Moyet on “That’s The Way Love Is” at Live Aid.

Six: The singer situation, part two. A much better alignment would be the relentless castrating attitude of Grace Slick (ask your mom), via Wendy Herman, the certifiably crazed dame who used to front UK band Angletrax back when they were howling away on Hansa Records (ref: the Hermanesque harangue on “Vicious”). Which brings me to …

Seven: The big influence. You just gotta love a woman who can effortlessly toss off spot-on Siouxie Sioux impersonations at the drop of a hat as Taylor does on the Banshees pastiches “Waiting For The Lightning,” “Love In The 22nd Century,” and “TKO.” Which also brings me
to …

Eight: The songs. Whatever you do, don’t believe the record company hype which says that these guys have recorded an album that’s “a dark, chaotic stripped down work of absolute utilitarianism” because that’s as big a load of hooey as I’ve ever heard. Whoever wrote that delusional appraisal must’ve been listening to the Genitorturers on acid at the time because these here Vexers are an edgy power-pop band, plain and simple.

Nine: The pigeonhole. You say “Punk,” but I hear “New Wave.”

Ten: The future. Don’t miss the Vexers when they perform at the 20th anniversary of Live Aid in July 2005. Birth control will be mandatory.

E-mail Jeffrey Morgan at [email protected].