Anybody with even a fleeting interest in what ‘the kids’ are listening to these days will have heard of Hollywood Undead, through either video games, TV, MySpace or the completely divided press opinions of the Californian sextet.
Having formed in 2005 (originally with seven members), the band quickly became a MySpace phenomenon, and this, the ironically-named Swan Songs, is their debut album.
The opening track Undead (the second single from the album) is an immediate signal of things to come, a powerful, energetic opener full of youthful attitude and boasting. There’s not a subdued moment in sight as old songs combine with new songs; guitars, drums, bass, rapping, screaming and everything in between creating a whirlwind of energy and catchy hooks.
The token ‘subdued moment’ arrives in the form of track 9, Bottle And A Gun, the calm, floating chorus (which is actually the only calm part of the track) putting images of the palm tree-lined streets of Los Angeles into your head.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking the album is all fun and joviality. There are a few ‘serious moments’, most notably the closing track Paradise Lost (which, as it happens, is a great way to end the album). The Diary is the subject of some debate amongst fans, some saying it is a serious track, and some proclaiming it is a parody of other tracks with similar themes. My Black Dahlia is an older song, but it fits seamlessly with the album, helping create more of a balance in the subject matter.
Hollywood Undead are the type of band that divide opinions. One person will think they’re pioneers, the best thing since internet, and another will think they contribute to ‘the cancer that is killing music’. There is debate over whether they are part of the ’screamo-crunk’ movement or not (I, personally, do not see it at all). For some, they may bring back memories of the late-nineties nu-metal movement (due to their combination of rap and rock), however whether that’s a good thing or not is entirely up to the individual.
What you are definitely getting is quite a fresh-sounding record, made by six men clearly having a good time and enjoying life. It’s full of energy and is thoroughly enjoyable to listen to, so do exactly that. Listen to it, enjoy it and don’t worry about what labels people are throwing at it. It doesn’t matter.