23 April 2014

Calabrese - Born With A Scorpion's Touch

I’ve been meaning to review this album for a while but kept forgetting about it and I’ve not had too much time for this sort of thing of late. I’ve been listening to Calabrese a fair bit lately and find myself with a bit of spare time at work so I thought I’d crack on for a change instead of watching Skyrim videos on Youtube.

Calabrese are a Horror Punk band from Illinois. They consist of three brothers Bobby Calabrese, Jimmy Calabrese and Davey Calabrese. The band’s name is derived from their surname, rather than the strain of broccoli. They have a strong Misfits flavour to them in the style of music, the lyrical themes and Bobby’s voice. He even looks quite a bit like Glenn Danzig. The punk riffs are tempered with a little bit of rockabilly groove however. That, and the dual vocals Bobby shares with Jimmy, give them a little bit of individuality and lift them out of the tribute/copycat pool.
Born With A Scorpion’s Touch is their fifth album and was released last year.  At just over half an hour long it’s a frenetic burst of gothic punk melody. One immediate difference to their previous albums is the production. Whereas in the past it’s tended to be a bit tinny and underwhelming, Born With A Scorpion’s Touch sounds deep, warm and booming. It’s what they’ve needed definitely. Another improvement is the quality of the song writing. Every song on here is great; the only thing approaching filler is the opening track American Rebel Death Riders as it’s a near instrumental and more of an intro than a proper song. It still has a belting riff though.
The title track straddles the middle ground between Misfits and Alkaline Trio. It barrels along nicely and has the sort of chorus you bellow along to yourself without really knowing any of the words. Or is it just me that does that? It fades out leaving what sounds like a harpsichord plonking away.
I Wanna Be A Vigilante starts off slowly and sees bassist Jimmy Calabrese crooning gently before Bobby adds some nice harmonies before the chorus picks things up. It’s a mid-paced song that’s as infuriatingly catchy as the song before it.

At Night I Am The Warmest is the most Misfitsy song on the album. You can almost see the DEVILOCKS bouncing along in enthusiastic joy. Loner At Heart sees Jimmy taking most of the lead vocals and is the most aggressive song so far.  Mindwarp is next and carries on the urgent pace but takes a few listens to appreciate. The guitar in this song, particularly in the final section, reminds me of The Wildhearts which is always nice.

(L-R) Bobby, Jimmy and Davey

Danger begins slowly with an undulating guitar line and a weird mumbly sample. Much like Mindwarp before it’s not as immediate as other songs on the album but it’s a grower all the same.

Ride With The Living Dead sees some nice vocal interplay between Bobby and Jimmy. Only The Dead Know My Name is another song that sounds very much like the Misfits, though the chorus melody has more of a rock n’ roll feel to it. It’s an excellent song and the longest of the album even though it’s still less than four minutes long. I Ride Alone is the final fast paces song on the album and is a great way to end, good chorus, pounding riff and a pervading air of menace.

The final song on the album is a bit of a departure for the band. There Is An Evil Inside tells the tale of a killer who murders a teenage girl. It starts with a lone guitar until Bobby starts crooning, joined shortly by Jimmy. It slowly builds up until finally developing into a full on Psychobilly breakdown. The whole song is incredibly infectious and I’ve been singing it constantly since I first listened to it. It’s getting annoying now.

Born With A Scorpion’s Touch is probably Calabrese’s best album yet. They might not be the most innovative or unique band around but the three brothers have a great chemistry, good songs and are a lot of fun and that’s all that should matter.

I didn’t know this had even been released until a couple of months ago and I’m kicking myself for not knowing sooner because Born With A Scorpion’s Touch would absolutely have been in my top ten albums of last year.

Favourite Track: There Is An Evil Inside

8 out of 10 - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Listen to it on Spotify HERE

Buy it on Amazon HERE

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