Side Order Of Sin

Black Halos 03

The song titles pretty much tell you all you need to know about The Black Halos:

  • Tracks
  • BSF (Blood Sucking Freak)
  • Shooting Stars
  • Fucked From The Start
  • No Chance Nancy
  • Fluffy Kittens

Here we go again, staggering down the grimmest grimiest streets in search of a fix tonight, no angel-headed hipsters round these parts just the fluttering ghosts of a thousand runaway junkie girl suicides in a hundred crime scene alleyways.  You know the turf, you can smell where Hanoi/Dolls/Dead Boys/Guns/Heartbreakers/LOTNC* marked it with their man scent.  The turf in this case being Vancouver, 1999.

Black Halos 02

Produced by Jack Endino and distributed by Sub Pop (they signed to them for their next couple of releases), we get a jaunt down the rockier side of the punk boulevard here, the musicianship is good, solid, melodic and brisk.  Everyone involved has a mop of untidy black hair, proper cheekbones and the singer was called Billy Hopeless** – I signed up.

What we get never won any prizes for originality, but for spirit? it came close.  Opener ‘Shooting Star’ is Hanoi Rocks x8, or maybe just New York Dolls squared and two-thirds through it even has a breakdown section redolent of The Cult.  All the while Mr Hopeless crows about him/someone else having a life like a shooting star.  I can barely make out a word of ‘Retro World’, Mr Hopeless has a somewhat eccentric vocal style his voice just drips with cynicism, sin and strange hungers, he sounds like he’s been living on cheap wine, depravity and fries since 1979 – what he’s not so great on is clarity.  Ah well, guess I’ll just have to roll with it and snack on my side order of sin.

That's an actual, real X-ray of Billy Hopeless' spine - true story
That’s an actual, real X-ray of Billy Hopeless’ spine – true story

Unfortunately, this also sets a certain built-in obsolescence into play.  I like to vicariously live the life of a street-sussed low-life narconaut, from the comfort of my luxurious sofa as much as the next man but I need a little more variation in my brew.  In fact listening to both sides of The Black Halos is a bit like being trapped in a lift with a very noisy real street-sussed low-life narconaut – not so much fun in reality and the smell gets to you after a while.  I do particularly like ‘Sad Boy’ and its lament for lost lives (etc. etc.) in the same vein as (see what I did there) as ‘Lonely Planet Boy’ and it is a welcome change of pace and the brilliantly titled ‘Fucked From The Start’ does exactly what you’d imagine it doing, with an extra pungent stench.

Grim urban reality#1
Grim urban reality#1
Grim urban reality#1: Packs of rabid feral dogs
Grim urban reality#2: Packs of rabid feral dogs

Unfortunately The Black Halos lose the bonus 1537 points they picked up for wanton and gratuitous swearing for a petty grievance of mine.  I hate it when you buy an LP and the inserts are just CD-sized, that’s lazy I’m afraid.  We pay more for vinyl, one of the few perks we get is nice big pictures, indulge us.  I really can’t read the small print here:

Black Halos 01
Sort of actual size

Anyway, spoilt grumblings aside, The Black Halos is a good rock punk album and it does fit a certain mood.  Now if you’ll excuse me I have a hundred crime scene alleyways to prowl.

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P.S – I made the last two song-titles up, reckon I nailed ’em good.

*Lords of the New Church, I was being deliberately obscure to show exactly how hip I am.

**captain Google tells me that Mr Hopeless had a spinal tap, sorry Spinal Tap, in 2008 – that’s the coolest major spinal surgical procedure I can think of off-hand.

12 thoughts on “Side Order Of Sin

    1. Thank you, but man, that’s just a fraction I’m afraid. We’ve just put our house on the market – the logistics of packing them all up, moving them and reassembling them somewhere – after having new shelves built, stresses me. They weigh a million tons collectively too.

  1. These halos never donned by melon, so to speak. Sorry, wit is not rising to the top today. I’ve been in and out of WordPress the last week and I sorta feel like you do when you come back to work after a long holiday.

    Ever listen to Louis XIV? These fellas sound kind of similar, minus all the sexual innuendo you get with those Louis XIV guys. Billy Hopeless. You think he still goes by that?

    1. I never donned by melon either, man. True story!

      I have, I really like that Louis XIV album too – although I’m always very careful to wash my hands after listening to it. A nasty little LP that one.

      I’d like to think it was Billy’s real name, some random twist of fate that pre-determined his whole life and career. Just like Dr Demento and her royal highness, Queen Latifah.

      1. Damn fat fingers. Oh the things they type.

        Dr. Demento. A hero of mine. True story!

        That Louis LP… Even the album cover makes me feel queasy, and mildly prepubescent.

  2. Aww that’s a nice puppy. What’s its name?

    And I like the photo of tranquil domesticity + vinyl collection with the Black Halos record front and center. Nice one!

    Never heard of these guys either.

    1. Thank you, she’s a full-grown Sheltie called Daisy – I use her to enforce drug debts and she’s the local beat-all-comers dog fighting champion. She’d tear a rhino’s face off in seconds – true story!

      They’re from Vancouver, you’re Canadian, surely that’s only a 20minute drive away? I’m sure they must have put a 50ft bronze statue of Billy Hopeless up by now. Or maybe their habits got in the way of becoming the biggest band in the world?

      1. I should introduce Daisy to my two guard-goldies, Nugget and MacNchee – that’s goldfish, not golden retrievers! They can slap their fins something fierce! And never cross them if they’re hungry!

    1. Thank you, she’s Daisy – or Day-Z, if we’re feeling particularly hip-hoppy. I just wanted to show that I’m very street and when I write about rat-infested back alleys and smack deals, that’s how I’m living it.

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