Buzz Chart

Former Cell Mates

Former Cell Mates
‘Who’s Dead And What’s To Pay?’
(Household Name)

A band that features a former member of Leatherface is always going to be a good bet if you’re on the lookout for high-quality, gritty punk rock. But in ‘Who’s Dead And What’s To Pay?‘ (an Old English saying that roughly translates as “What’s all the fuss about?”), David Lee Brandon and his fellow Sunderland cohorts have created a truly amazing record, without merely rehashing past glories.

It’s safe to say that these guys have done more than their fair share of lengthy tours in cramped, rusty vans, and this road-dog spirit shines brightly throughout the entirety of the record. Songs like the opening ‘Party Tricks‘ and ‘Gypsy’s Curse‘ combine squalling guitars and Brandon’s gravel-throated vocals with the kind of subtle melodies that will creep into your brain whether you like it or not. Elsewhere,’Does He Make You Laugh?‘ is an upbeat, yet self-deprecating country punk ode to a failed relationship (a theme that dominates much of this record), whilst the acoustic ‘Stolen Car Keys’ is genuinely affecting with its bleary-eyed charm.

But ultimately, the best thing about ‘Who’s Dead…‘ is that it offers up not a single duff track. Fans of bands like The Replacements, Hot Water Music and Lucero need to hear this like London needs a decent mayor. Check out ”Come January‘ on the link above.

Alex Gosman