[29 April 2012]
Buh, the debut album from Dante vs. Zombies, benefits from its seemingly low ambitions. The songs on this album seem designed to get people dancing while simultaneously encouraging the audience not to take them very seriously. This half-joking attitude is announced straightaway on opening track “Ta da!”, which marries upbeat ‘60s-style pop to lead singer Dante White-Aliano’s quavering vocals and caps it off with the sarcastic refrain of “Ta da!” Other tracks have a similarly snarky attitude, like the laid-back, falsetto-voiced story song “My Poor Old Parrot”, or the new wave-sounding “Horror Stories for Whores”, which is enhanced greatly by Laena Geronimo’s violin playing.
“Everything’s A-Okay” is the closest that Buh has to a mission statement. It starts as a loping, dark rocker before sliding into a bright, borderline annoying chorus that name-checks dance steps while stating, “We’re dying, by the way.” Then it hits the ridiculous synth-laden bridge, where White-Aliano repeatedly shouts, “Zombies!”, the zombies reply “What?!”, and he delivers the weak punchline, “How come you hate our guts?” Only the silly but supremely catchy ‘70s-style power-pop of “Watermelon Iodine” stands out as a truly great song on the album. While this is mostly solid stuff, the winking attitude makes it tough to take anything here too seriously. On the other hand, keeping the audience at arm’s length also prevents us from getting too upset about the material that doesn’t quite work.