Local band's sophomore album, strange yet oddly 90s.
By Bradly T. Schuman
Alien zombies invade local garage and make punk album, more at 11.
Alien Space Kitchen defines themselves as “garage-punk space-pop”. Google that phrase, and you’re only going to find hits for this Albuquerque trio. Alien Space Kitchen has a niche carved out.
When my editor gave me this album to review, it was a pleasant surprise to see it on vinyl. She handed it to me, still sealed in its plastic wrapper, with dirty desert hotel pop art on the sleeve. There’s a shirtless woman with an axe over her shoulder and a cigarette dangling from her lips on the back.
The track list is written in fonts I’d expect from the opening credits of a Hammer Horror movie. This album is not trying to blend in with the rest of your record collection – this album is telling you it’s going to be a little weird.
“Some of This Is True” is Alien Space Kitchen’s second album; “Just ASK” (also released on vinyl!) came out to local critical acclaim and a New Mexico Music award in 2013.
The new album sounds a bit cleaner than the last, in both production quality and the overall construction of the songs. When you put the two side-by-side, “Some of This Is True” feels like it got a lot more polish and post-production work than its predecessor.
The album made me want to grab my skateboard and a time machine, and head back to the early ‘90s to hang out at the local park, where none of us ever did anything more interesting than fall off our boards and lie about getting laid while receiving weird looks from the neighbors.
As far as content goes, however, the two albums have plenty in common. The tropes of zombies, aliens, vitriol for the establishment and embracing being weird run thick in both. Songs are short, lyrics are delivered with twangy pop-punk style, bass lines have a groovy surf vibe and the guitar has the sharp repetition you expect from summer-time punk. “Some of This Is True” hits all the checkboxes you’d expect for making a solid garage-punk album.
“The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization” includes the phrases “All we want is water/All we get is oil” and “The decline and fall of nothing much at all.” Big middle finger to Big Oil, check.
“Zombie Outbreak” is a speedy little daydream about shooting your way through the walking dead. Guns, check; Zombies, check.
“How to Fake a Lunar Landing” is painfully catchy, with drummer Noelle singing half the vocals (try drumming and singing sometime – it ain’t easy). Conspiracies? Check.
“Welcome to Star 65” is my favorite off the album: It dips back and forth between a stray-cat-strut-style swing and a thrashy, jump-around punk anthem pretty smoothly. Listen-to-at-your-own-risk-catchy song? Check.
“Some of This Is True” closes with “Out to LA,” a dreamy little ballad that doesn’t sound a thing like the rest of the album and lets you relax after the intensity of the other tracks. Smooth come-down after radical come-up? Check.
Alien Space Kitchen looks to be doing a little touring soon: they’ll be in Santa Fe at the Underground at Evangelo’s Oct. 14, with several dates to follow in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Anaheim.
Bradley T. Schuman is a pop culture geek and music nerd with far too many records and opinions.