Friday, July 23, 2010

Get Haunted's Vol. 1

Get Haunted's Volume 1 is a musical anthology of horror stories that loves long shadows and letting our more twisted sides get some needed exercise. Each of the eight songs come with a lyric card that has a different illustration which summarizes the story being told. The images remind me of a cross between Stephen Gammell and the simple Fred Banbery illustrations that were in those old Alfred Hitchcock books such as Ghostly Gallery. I don't think it's a coincidence that the illustrations are making me think of books that are aimed at young readers, either. I think, in a way, the songs are aimed at the kid in us that used to worry that whatever was under our beds was going to feast on our guts. Think about it. What was under the bed as we got older? Dirty laundry, porn mags, a bag of weed, the box your sister kept the sharp shit in that she used to cut herself with? And then you get even older and what is it, that folded up Bowflex you never use? Lame. I'll take an imaginary gut eater over that crap any day.

I like the name Get Haunted. Compare it to being told to get undressed - easily understood because we know what a state of undress is. But a person can become haunted by just about anything. The thing is that Joey and Sarah Macrino deliver their plunking and pounding with a conviction that says they know precisely what best to get haunted by. And I am pretty sure that it is more by what can be sensed than by what can be seen. Escaping the slowly blooming insanity within some small backward American town is very different from being chased by a monster, let's just say.

Then again, Cedar Grove starts out with a bag-headed slasher looking through the woods for Joey. There's Frankenstein too, with that most famous of monsters breaking its chains by the tune's end, leaving Dr. Franky to realize that his experiment was actually a real bad idea. But both songs are actually about staying the hell away from places and things that we have no business messing with. To get haunted is about developing enough sense to take those no trespassing signs dead serious.

Still, the thrill of doing things you know you shouldn't never gets old. Get Haunted is the barn-punk that kids of The Handsome Family would play. All the energy and enthusiasm is there, along with the key attitude of turning shaky proficiency on an instrument into an inventive sound. They sing about old dark houses, inner beasts, and exorcism, but make it fun. Anyone that pretends these themes are just too icky for them forgets that there is a reason why the very real Ed Gein, who was once most happy when wearing a full bodysuit of someone else's skin, is a pop culture perennial to this very day. It's the same reason all you rubberneckers cause traffic jams. The difference is that Get Haunted are drawing from the same traditions that tales such as those by the Brothers Grimm and the American folklore from generations past were rooted in. These are cautionary tales, which is, in my opinion, the right kind of horror to get haunted by.

You can download tracks from Get Haunted's Bandcamp, including their most recent release From the Basement.

And hey you two, congratulations on the birth of Elvis Jude!

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