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Two years after their debut, Who’s a Fuzzy Buddy?, Roanoke, VA’s The Bastards of Fate continue their uncompromising onslaught of demented pop with an incredibly strong sophomore effort.
Vampires Are Real And Palpable filters the dramatic sound of Muse and Ghost & Goblin through the lens of psychedelic Ralph Bakshi cartoons and Hanna-Barbera hijinks. A raw darkness runs through the insanity, however, and, as the songs unfold, the vampires become more apparent. William S. Burroughs warned against “psychic vampires,” those who walk into a room and drain the energy. “If, after having been exposed to someone’s presence, you feel as if you’ve lost a quart of plasma, avoid that presence,” he advised. “You need it like you need pernicious anemia.” These sinister characters emerge from the songs, twisting the lives of those around them, dragging everyone into their solipsistic world of doom and despair. Bleak? Yes, very.
That’s not to say that these songs are all dreary mopers filled with ennui. Quite the contrary, they are as entertaining as Space Ghost on acid. They just happen to tread in disturbing territory, a fateful reminder of the enemies that surround us every day.
It’s interesting to note the mutual vampirism of being in a band, especially while playing live music. As the band feeds off each other, the audience feeds off the band, who in turn feeds off the audience. The Bastards of Fate know this and flaunt it unapologetically. The vampires are us.
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