Rhythm & Views


In a perfect world, perfect power-pop bands like the Mayflies USA, the Shazam and Dramarama would be rocking the arenas of the world, and The Killers would still be parking cars at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. But this is not a perfect world, and all we can do is thank the rock 'n' roll gods that artists like John Easdale somehow scrape together the will and financing necessary to complete another album.

Dramarama has been around for 20 years, but the band's finest moment was nearly its swan song. Hi-Fi Sci-Fi, released in 1993, was so chock-full of hooks and hitting-the-sweet-spot guitar riffs that it made listening to Cheap Trick a chore. (Dig up this album in a used bin, crank "Work for Food," and tell me I'm wrong.) Hi-Fi Sci-Fi was a long time ago, however--back when Easdale was a young man. The title of his new effort, Everybody Dies, suggests he's gotten crankier in middle age. Thankfully, he hasn't lost his songwriting chops.

The title track is an interesting paradox; it's a dark anthem that simultaneously celebrates and savages mortality: "And nobody comes back to say how great it is / That's just how great it is." There are other protest songs like "Good Night, America," a stomping, open-chorded requiem to a noble country undermined by greed. And "Gotta Get Up" will easily replace your morning jolt of black coffee. Sure, there are some stumbling blocks, like the cover of the Tin Pan Alley number "When Did You Leave Heaven?" Regardless, Everybody Dies proves that Dramarama is alive and kicking.

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