Horror Dance Party

Do the Zombie (Independent)
OK Zombie

By Kevin Gibson

Louisville's OK Zombie is quick to note that two key themes in its existence are George A. Romero, the legendary horror film producer and Spam. The band's website also notes that while a zombie is an animated corpse that feeds on living human flesh, it is also the name of a dance move, best described as "similar to Pigpen's dance move" from the Peanuts comics and cartoons.

The site also describes the playful nature of OK Zombie's music. Certainly there is a sense of humor at work in the PR materials, but one has to listen pretty closely to hear humor or playfulness in the music itself.

This is particularly true with songs like "Alone," a funereal sounding, mid-tempo drifter that offers this uplifting lyric: "There's a poison in my brain / I wear it like an ugly stain / There's nothing I can do to come around / Everyone gives up on me / Stops and bails eventually / I just don't want you to be let down."

Fun times, indeed.

But the "we're happy-go-lucky flesh-eating zombies, not scary ones" argument can be made in respect to the final song, "Zombies Don't Dance," which finally pulls out the fun card. One also picks up similarities to the inherently fun Cake and even to King Kong at times when listening to Do the Zombie. It's kind of ... electroni-rock. Is that a genre?

"Close to Me," for instance, while sounding dreamy and a tad morose, actually has a lyric that sounds like it was lifted from an Abba disco song: "Don't just stand on the dance floor / Waiting patiently / Everybody is grooving / To get close to me." Yet, the haunting lead guitar strains make the listener think that, well, the zombies are going to converge at any moment and eat the dancers' brains. But they never do.

"We Can't Get Out" is another spooky one, with a repetitive guitar melody and barely perceptible keyboards that create an intriguing backdrop for the bleak lyric. The whistling in the background also plays to eerie effect.

My key complaint about the album really has more to do with the musical style - electronica music is inherently repetitive and, all too often, redundant. OK Zombie occasionally falls into that hole, yet manages to keep things entertaining with the varied instrumentation and vocal arrangements. One can't help but think some more variations in the song structures could help, though.

On the upside, the album, which was produced by Mike Peay and the band at Crestwood Studios, sounds exactly as it should - echoey and spooky. It's also pretty crystal clear in the headphones, which many "local" projects can't achieve. Kudos for quality.

All in all, Do the Zombie is a fairly satisfying experience - perhaps it's musical flesh for your zombie within. If not, you can at least have fun reading the promotional material. You gotta like a band that includes stuff like this in its bio:

"The band's almost animalistic consumption of Spam leaves room to question whether they themselves might be part zombie. However, OK Zombie insists that's simply not true, but rather only enjoy it because it comes with its own key. One thing is for sure, the music of OK Zombie will leave you shuffling your feet and reaching for the nearest meat by-product."

Find out more at www.okzombie.com.