Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Doctor Gasp and the Eeks "Vampire Fish for Two" album review

Dan Blakeslee aka Doctor Gasp is an institution of Boston music. His personality shines. His creativity knows no bounds….and he is back with a new Halloween record. Yes ladies and gentlemen, Doctor Gasp and the Eeks present “Vampire Fish for Two”, complete with that beautiful and intriguing artwork that the man is known for.

The record has this “you just stumbled into a speakeasy for the deranged!” kind of feel to it. And I mean that in the best way possible. It’s fun, its full of life (though some of the songs are about dead things), has a waltzy vibe, and it just has that “thing” that Dan Blakeslee embraces so well. If you know, or know of, Dan than you know what that “thing” is. The record has so many variant textures and the sonic din of each track is so interesting if you really dig deep and listen. Don’t be fooled, this is no gimmick despite it being a “holiday record”. These songs are admirably thought out and deeply charged with liveliness and soul. Plus, the liner notes denote saw, zombie sounds, and frying pan as instruments played...you just can't go wrong!

The take on the “Monster Mash” is rather loyal to the original tune sonically. It’s fun, danceable, and
the entire arrangement is really wonderful with Doctor Gasp’s vocal in the fore front really driving the tune. The ending is particularly representative of Blakeslee’s humor. I will let you listen and hear it for yourself.

“RAWR!” has minimal lyrical content (something I typically LOVE from artists..especially Dan), but is one of my favorites from this collection. A cool swinging guitar, the background noises aplenty, the marching of the drum…and then….RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR!!!!

“The Werewolf” is actually a wonderfully beautiful song. The base of the arrangement is an almost silent swelling organ (or it could be accordion?) in the background, sparsing picked banjo and guitar parts, and Blakeslee weaving the tale of lost love in beast form. Regardless, it really strikes a chord and the ambiance and feel of the song sits deep with me.

OK, the next track is INSANE. It’s a rap track, complete with record scratching, rapping about classic monsters (apparently Swamp Thing was a bit of a ladies man?). A really excellent departure from what one would expect. And as per the rest of the record, the textures and layers of the track are complex and smart.

 (photo by Michael Winters)

This entire piece has Blakeslee’s typical fullblown energy and witty sense of humor. I don't know how, but he is able to take what seems like even the most ridiculous of topics and write smart and wonderfully brilliant lyrics about it. I love this. I love all the work that Dan puts forward. It’s always completely enthused and he sinks his whole heart into his projects. Blakeslee should make records for every holiday!

Buy your download or physical copy now at: http://doctorgasp.bandcamp.com/album/vampire-fish-for-two

Only a few shows left to catch Doctor Gasp before he retreats back into the catacombs for another year!

10/29 Dover, NH-Barley Pub w/Soggy Po Boys 9pm
10/30 Salem, MA-Salem State/Ellison Ctr. "Underground" 8pm
10/31 Cambridge, MA-TT The Bears w/Tallahassee 9pm
11/02 Providence, RI-Columbus Theatre w/Snake Wagon 7pm

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