Pain’s crazy rolling blend of more genres than you have fingers and toes is now available on Birdcage Records, the label that brought us Dread Zeppelin. There are several similarities between the labelmates: it’s mighty fun to listen to, the bands use excellent musicianship to great advantage, and they firmly lodges the tunes in your head while making you smile at the same time.
The closest I can come to describe Pain is “ska gone nuts.” The band’s efforts defy categorization in any specific wave or sub-genres of ska, though they have enough going in all camps to alienate just about every close-minded purist. On top of the pumping melodic sound, they have some pretty great lyrics, delivered by slick-talking Dan — not everyone can sing and enunciate at that rate. Time flies as Pain churns out songs about parasites (“Dave’s got leeches/ Mike has flu/ Everybody’s got a parasite/ I got you… “), an entire epic about a seven-inch cowboy, a musical proverb about emulating Mary Poppins… if you can sit still long enough to listen to the songs. The supplied lyric sheet is a nice touch, but completely unnecessary, as discerning Dan’s diatribes is pretty easy.
There are very few bands out there as charming and engaging as Pain — fortunately Pain is settling in for the long haul. Pain, P.O. Box 862112, University Of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35486 Birdcage Records, P.O. Box 784, Sierra Madre, CA 91024