Zombina and the Skeletones

@ Roadkill, Liverpool.

In the not too distant past the music scene in Liverpool was still dominated by half-arsed, I-wish-we-was-The La’s-la bands, content with playing mediocre scouse-rock and slapping each other on the back. Things are much better nowadays, but it took a lot of guts and glory to topple that mulleted hegemony and one of the bands leading the charge were Zombina and the Skeletones.  Bursting outta nowhere and splattering the city with fake blood, sweat and most importantly songs from another universe. A universe where life is like a fucked up, Nick Cave version of Scooby Doo with a  soundtrack of Punk, Ska, Surf-pop, Rockabilly and New wave. Unable to get booked they founded their own club night ‘Useless’, which for its duration became a haven for bands though varied in sound, were united in uniqueness and quality. One album, numerous line up changes and support slots with the likes of The Misfits and The Dammed later, they are playing there first gig for a while at Liverpool’s newish Roadkill venue; a car-wreck wonderland with squashed rodent dolls adorning the walls. Zombina and co meander on, all resplendent in their traditional teenager-on-trick-or-treat makeup, minus lead vocalist Zombina herself, dashing in a leopard-skin print thingy. They launch with ‘The Grave and Beyond’ a chunk of their standard, slasher-movie punk and proceed to thrash their way through a set filled with hard and bouncy little balls of twisted pop energy. Zombina flicks between her sweet/desperate American-tinged singing voice and her more down-to-earth Scouse patter as the collective sweat of the venue seems to drip down exclusively on the band. The crowd tonight however, remains by and large quite subdued beyond the barrier-ramming hardcore. They reveal a new song, ‘Your Girlfriends Head’, a fast little missile, perhaps showing a harder new direction, then along comes ‘Staci Stasis’ a class bit of punk-pop, Doo-wop, barbershop business. While ‘Angel Eyes’ is straight off the Grease soundtrack, if you crossed it with Carrie maybe. They crash down with what is perhaps their best song, the gem that is ‘Nobody Likes You When You Dead’, which for all its horror stylings shows they can have the odd touching moment.

In this scribbling I have had to slam a lot of words together to try and trap the phenomenon of Zombina, but ultimately these kinda cats and these kinds of sounds should be free of too much analysis, lest we ruin. Just don some plastic fangs and pogo, for tomorrow may be too late.

By Kenn Taylor