Veronica Lipgloss & The Evil Eyes
The Witch’s Dagger
It’s gotten to the point where GSL has a pretty standard “house” sound: that of the darkest, most experimentally-oriented dance-punk output. Even still, in the waning days of the genre, admitting liking a band on their roster pretty much has to be placed in the Guilty Pleasure category. Veronica Lipgloss & The Evil Eyes play their part to live up to GSL’s standards (sorry!); but as with label-mates The Vanishing before them, their album feels a year too late. The group’s mixture of noir and neon electro, urban mood enhancement via saxophone, murky production and straight-from-the-Id vocals are all high quality, but do we really need another album full of jittery breakdowns, walking the high wire on a nervously plucked A-string? Not really. The closest GSL has come to songwriting lucidity recently was 2004’s excellent Plaster Hounds by The Chromatics. That album was danceable, but frightening enough to keep people off the dance floor. The Witch’s Dagger, unfortunately, only wants to crowd them back in.
It’s not all for naught though. Points should be given for the barely discernable, but thoroughly awesome chorus of “Strip Mall Glass”: “Where witches have wandered the ground is now gone to freeways/Where witches were hunted the ground is now haunted/beige and strip mall glass.” The closer’s 8-bit take on its grimy siblings is also a welcome change of pace. Sure it’s Castlevania-inspired, but the soundtracks to those late-’80s games will never be as old and tired as unadventurous contemporary dance-punk.