DEAD CELEBRITIES: Cleanup on Aisle: CD

After a six-year run as one of the premier bands on the St. Louis punk scene, the Dead Celebrities broke up in early 2005. This album, the group’s only full-length studio release, is a memorable mix of fury and humor. Guitarist Elvis Kennedy creates jaggedly powerful riffs and John Paul Nixon is a standout drummer. The band’s sound bears a resemblance to the music of the UK Subs and the Skulls, and vocalist Sid Sinatra is a witty voice of exasperation. The first song on the album is “Bail,” a breakneck hardcore rant about a disagreement with a policeman. The track would make a worthy pairing with T.S.O.L’s “Anticop” on a punk compilation album about law enforcement. (There’s an idea.) “Sweet Love Song” moves at equally high speed and is probably Cleanup’s funniest track, with its mock-angry chorus of “Your ugly baby shoulda been mine.” Fittingly, the song with the most anthemic chorus, “Dead Celebrities,” is also the most tongue-in-cheek. It may also be the only piece of music to reference Winston Churchill, John Holmes, and Moe from The Three Stooges. Sinatra’s vocal meltdowns and ironic lyrics are equally strong, and the music is infectious throughout. As this album shows, the Dead Celebrities played smart-assed punk at its finest.

 –chrispepus (Fat Fish)