Grave Danger just emerged from the tomb to bring us a spooky single in time for Halloween, “Undead End Job,” out on the unholy day itself on their new album Tomb It May Concern.
“‘Undead End Job’ is Grave Danger doing what it does best,” says songwriter David Schwantes. “The song has bouncy horn parts, a driving groove, and the line ‘Had half a doughnut though I’m hungry for blood.’ We played more with synth leads in this song, and it really added something cool, particularly where the organ and sy,th play off each other in the bridge. With the scope of instrumentation in the band (a four piece horn section, synths, organs, harmonies galore) we tried to focus on giving each song on this record exactly what it needed to create a big sound without muddying things up, and ‘Undead’ is a great example of that spooky mix coming together.”
The idea of a “skath” band stems from a strange place. What would a goth ska band sound like, one that combined the Misfits’s aesthetic with Reel Big Fish’s goofball schtick? Berkley, CA’s Grave Danger continue to answer this question on Tomb It May Concern, the follow-up to their 2018 debut. In some ways, Tomb picks up where RIP left off. “Bigfoot Beach,” with it’s sand-shaking beat and its fanfaring horns, features the same sort of playful, punny vocals that made their first EP so amusing.
Other songs, though, show a band who’s expanding their spooky ska concept, including “Cemeterrarium,” which flops back and forth from searing post-punk to bouncing, third-wave ska, and the punchy “Undead End Job,” where Emily Erbach’s theremin-inspired synth wavers eerily behind the horns. On “Give Up the Ghost,” the closest thing to a love balled Grave Danger may ever write, Schwantes’ saxophone, rounded out by siblings Andrew and Margaret Miller’s trumpet and trombone, are thicker and tighter than ever, filling the spaces between singer Chris Marcanti’s soulful melodies and harmonies.
The band completes the EP with a cover of the Misfits’s “Halloween,” lightening the brooding, raging song into something singable, danceable—and laughable. It might be easy to write Grave Danger off as a novelty because, well, maybe it is. But it’s also a daydream realized—or possibly a nightmare. It’s what would happen is Bobby “Boris” Pickett and his Crypt Kickers were still alive and listened to the BossTones: fun and furious music intended to make listeners laugh and dance.