Jan 07, 2008

This is an idea that’s so cool, that it seems like it shouldn’t work: a cabaret style punk band presenting a concept album about the life of actor Peter Lorre. In case you don’t know, Peter Lorre is the actor who made it big in the ‘30s and ‘40s as the little hollow-eyed man, who always ended up playing some kinda shady figure, like a child murderer in M (whose poster the band borrowed for the album cover), fey underworld goon Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon, and uhm… the Japanese detective Mr. Moto, despite being a decidedly eastern European looking Jewish Hungarian who fled the Nazis in Germany. At any rate, the album is astoundingly unique and good. To set the proper mood and add the proper classy flavor to the affair, the album begins with a string ensemble playing “Peter Lorre’s Overture,” before the next ten songs tear it up with a unique mix of punk energy and guitars, some world class vocals from Jack Terricloth, some extremely great keyboard work on the organ and piano, and a nice selection of brass and woodwinds adding to everything. The rest of the album roughly follows along with the chronology of Peter Lorre’s life and ends up producing a surprisingly coherent whole that hits on moments of real insight at times. It really isn’t that hard to imagine this being played at a particularly boisterous old world family gathering taking place in a rented hall with a fine accompaniment of plentiful food, two or three languages being shouted interchangeably, and a complement of drunken uncles one hasn’t seen in years cutting it up on the dance floor. The World/Inferno F.S. is probably one of the best and most unique-sounding punk bands around right now, and definitely one of the only bands that sounds like they could pull off headlining both a street punk show and a world class dinner theatre (albeit one that’s also doing something shady like running coke out of the back storeroom) in the same week.

 –Adrian (Chunksaah)

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