The Halloween novelty act that plays songs like "Witch Hunt" and "Fiend Club" year-round, the revived Misfits are about as scary as Count Chocula. Unfortunately, the horror-movie-punk quartet has less stringent quality-control procedures than most cereal manufacturers. Of the 18 songs on the new "Famous Monsters," only a few rival the work of the band's original incarnation--and that version of the Misfits wasn't known for consistency either.
This album was produced by Daniel Rey, who helped keep the Ramones going for years in a semi-zombie state, and the Misfits just enlarge their long-standing debt to the blitzkrieg bop with the guitar attack of songs like "Living Hell." Still, the current lineup frequently sounds more like the Cramps, and the call-and-response choruses of the catchiest songs, notably "Dust to Dust," is of less specific origin. Wherever the Misfits dug up the parts for their latest album, however, their sound should have been interred a decade ago.
Appearing Sunday at the 9:30 Club with Gwar, Murphy's Law and Speedealer.
To hear a free Sound Bite from the Misfits, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8124. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)