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Dramarama
Everybody Dies
33rd Street Records
www.johneasdale.com


One need look no further than "The Bottle And The Bell" to realize that after a lengthy hiatus as a band, Dramarama is as vital and relevant today as they were in 1990. These purveyors of the finest brand of American rock and roll virtually defined the west coast rock scene in the 80's and early 90's with hits like "Last Cigarette" and the seminal rock anthem "Work For Food". On their latest release Everybody Dies the band focuses on a universal truth - that in the end, everybody ends up dead. The catalyst for many of these songs was a close friend of the band's diagnosis of cancer, which has since claimed his life. But in true John Easdale fashion, the message of these songs is a bit more skewed hope than fatalism. The songs of Dramarama have always been filled with a certain sing-songy lyricism and obscure alliterations and references, and that commodity has not been lost. "Everybody Dies" is classic Dramarama, full on guitars over tongue in cheek lyrics and throttling rhythm parts. Playtime lyricism comes forefront on "Physical Poetry", John Easdale smoothly rolling through the rhymes as Peter Wood and Mr. E Boy (a.k.a. Mark Englert) lay down solid guitar tracks as if they'd never parted ways and had simply been rehearsing together all these years. The brash sentimentality of "Try 5 Times" recalls those early albums, blistering guitar tracks and vocal lines that approach the ferocity of real punk without any of the harshness. If a fan of "Steve And Edie", you will certainly find solace in the whispering madness of "Dropping The Curtains" with its highly melodic chorus and slow dirgey style. There are a ton of hidden tracks attached to the end of the record, including some early demos for a couple of the songs, rough mixes that show a different character than the final versions.

But it all comes back to the simple folky beauty of "The Bottle And The Bell", a song that is at once haunting as it is beautiful… more beautiful and tender than any rock and roll band really has a right to be. That song sums up the attitude of the entire record succinctly and forms the cornerstone that holds the entire project together.

Everybody Dies is further proof that the various members of Dramarama are much more as a collective than they could ever hope to be as individual parts of the greater rock and roll machine. John Easdale's solo record was good, but pales a bit when set next to what this band has come together to produce here. Let's hope that they continue to make rock and roll that will stand the test of time. I suppose that this is the one time when we can honestly thank VH-1 for badgering the band enough to get them to agree to initially get back together…

Everybody dies; it's the only thing that's true.

-David DeVoe

Track Listing:
1. The Bottle And The Bell
2. Everybody Dies
3. Good Night America
4. When Did You Leave Heaven
5. Physical Poetry (A-B-C-D-1-2-3)
6. I Will Try
7. Try 5 Times
8. Dropping The Curtains
9. The Company
10. Gotta Get Up
11. King For A Day


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Mike Doughty



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