On the basis of their name, you would understandably assume that Gay For Johnny Depp are the sassiset band to exist since Ian Svenonius of The Nation Of Ulysses was voted ‘Sassiest Boy In America’ by Sassy magazine. They seem to tick all the boxes that are de rigueur for a band to be considered spazzy. The track listing is a mix semi-offensive puns and non sequiturs. They have clever stage names (Sid Jagger, Chelsea Piers). Even the press sheet tries to shock, telling us that 'the record is the sound of children being thrown from a carney carousel'. Unfortunately for the band, though they can talk the (spazzy) talk, they don’t really walk the (spazzy) walk.
‘Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny and Artistic Integrity’ kicks things off in the right way. Straight out of the gate, the band explodes in a raging ball of energy. Sirens sound, guitars shred, vocalist Marty Leopard (not his real name) shrieks something about how “you’ll never be one of us”. As a statement of intent, this minute and a half of shocking hardcore says a lot. Gay For Johnny Depp want to shock us, want to thrill us with their distinct blend of hardcore and homo-eroticism. They seem to know all tricks but unfortunately they don’t seem to be able to use them well for they never really manage to meet the promise of the opening salvo. To put it in terms that they would appreciate, Gay For Johnny Depp have the swagger and the balls but they can’t really fuck.
Gay For Johnny Depp’s problem is that they're trying too hard. They so badly want to titillate and excite with their stage names, band name and song titles that they’ve not really written anything that can back it up. For example, a song called ‘No, I’m Married to Jesus. Now Keep Your Fucking Hands Off of Him’ should by all rights deliver a sucker punch to the guts, burst at the seems with rage and bile, and provide an assault on the eardrums. It should at least be more then the somewhat gentle (at least in terms of hardcore) quiet verse/loud chorus alt. rock nothingness that Gay For Johnny Depp have written. By all rights it should get your blood boiling. As it happens, my blood is merely at a gentle simmer.
What Doesn’t Kill You, Eventually Kills You is, despite its shortcomings, still an enjoyable record. Whilst it may not make you shit your pants and want to burn all your records like the first time you heard The Locust, it’s not all bad. Gay For Johnny Depp’s problem lies between what they want to be, an in-your-face burst of sassy, blistering hardcore band that inspires fear and excitement in equal measure; and what they actually are, a slightly above average post-hardcore band playing at dress up. And don’t even get me started on their hilarious take on Slade’s ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’, or ‘Cum On Feel The Boize’ as they’ve called it. Really guys? Next time, try a bit harder.
6David Pott-Negrine's Score