Guitar World recently gave credit to KISS for turning “party” into a verb. And for Halloween, the album to party to is Jodi Explodi’s Shipyard, an EP released over the summer, but really built for the end of October, populated with ghosts, zombies, and all manner of supernatural creatures, brought to life via anthemic metal and speed-freak punk.
The line-up has changed a bit since you last you heard from them, 2006’s Demo-Arigato, with Minatory’s Matt Thompson joining on guitar and backing vocals not long after the two bands shared a split seven-inch in 2005, and Mike Provencher joining on bass in 2008, but their general ethos has changed much at all: they’re raucous, loud, sort of silly, sometimes sloppy, always a ton of fun.
The eight-song album’s title track is an ode to partying in the Old Port, toe-tapping pop-punk that could run on a modern-day Bat out of Hell. “I want to feel like the world is gonna end,” wails frontman Thumby, “Gonna go down there and find my friends.” The guitar is breezy, a care-free guy on the town, but the fat-bottomed bass is his conscience. Similarly, Thumby is cavalier with his vocals, calling out “good job, fellas” as drummer Adam Aldridge holds a transition together.
Much of the rest of the disc, however, has a much looser grasp on reality.
“The Dreadful Doc Benton” opens the disc, using heavy guitar chords and cycling lead guitar to riff on the New Hampshire myth of an 1800s physician who headed for a secluded cabin in search of the meaning of life, only to disappear completely amid a strange collection of lifeless cows and young women. These guys would definitely get along with the likes of Covered in Bees, Confusatron, and Pigboat. It’s heavy, but it’s light-hearted.
Later, in “Ghosts of New England,” they explore a pair of haunting tales, that of the Palatine, a ship wrecked off the coast of Block Island and burned with a woman still aboard, and that of Eva Gray, who died at the age of 33 in Biddeford’s City Theater and purportedly haunts it to this day. As the choruses progress, in between electric guitars that fire out repeating riffs that alternate between channels, they finish with “you’re a ghost of New England/Say hello to us, please.”
These are the kind of guys desperate for there to be more to the reality they’ve been presented with, ghost hunters with guitars.
Just like “Zeke the Plumber,” to whom we’re introduced via a mid-album acoustic number that serves as a great finish to what’s effectively side A. “If only Halloween was every day,” he wishes after picking up a “couple of packs of smokes,” something with which Thumby’s raspy voice indicates he’s intimately familiar. They quickly move into a galloping rhythm and wrap the segue up, with a movie snippet that should be familiar to many from Ghostbusters:
“Ray, has it ever occurred to you that the reason we’ve been so busy lately is because the dead have been rising from the grave?”
Ray: “How about a little music?”
Music to hunt ghosts by? Jodi Explodi have just the thing.
SHIPYARD | Released by Jodi Explodi |www.myspace.com/jodiexplodimusic