Little Miss Stakes are a horror punk/rock band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. The last ten years or so, we’ve seen hundreds, maybe even thousands of horror punk bands pop up. Ninety-five percent of them sound the same. LMS are not that typical horror punk band.
I will say, right off the bat, that the vocals on the album will be the thing that drives the casual rock listener away from this band. For me (and fans of the more aggressive rock and punk rock), they work very well. There’s plenty of range and diversity here with the vocals. At times, there is an early AC/DC Bon Scott style. There’s a growly type of almost death/black metal demon possession vocal. There’s a more feminine(ish)-rock and roll vocal style ala Joan Jett. A lot reminds me of Vince Neil as well.
Overall, there is a huge 45 Grave meets WASP meets The Misfits vibe. None of it, however, sounds like they’re ripping anyone off. They’re playing their own brand of horror-themed rock and roll. The bass sounds amazing and I’m glad it starts before the guitar here as it’s easy to have the bass tone buried and miss it. With it coming in first, it stays fresh in the mind to really listen to it throughout the album. The guitar tones are great as well. Raw but very pronounced in the recording. A good heavy drum sound helps it make a well-rounded sounding album.
The first song is “Killer Klowns from Outer Space”. This one screams 45 Grave as soon as it kicks in. It’s that sort of generic horror movie 80’s rock sound that you just can’t get enough of. This song might not be quite as catchy as the Dickies’ “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” that made it in the movie, but I’d probably say it’s better. Great horror rock song. It ends with a great punk rock circus vibe, complete with some keyboard bell sounds.
As Killer Klowns ends, “The Ghoul Next Door” kicks right in and you can hear influence all over this one. It’s the 50’s-influenced horror punk that made The (original) Misfits famous and this song is phenomenal. With the backup vocals and better recording quality, it’s somewhat reminiscent of Michale Graves-era Misfits, as well. With these vocals being nowhere near a Danzig-style, the song feels more influenced by than a wannabe Misfits replica. Very refreshing in the horror punk genre. At this point, I’m really feeling this album.
“Mina” is more rock and roll fun. Something about the riffing in it reminds me a bit of Calabrese. Again, I can hear possibly an influence but no ripping off going on here. Three songs in, LMS are doing a great job of keeping my attention. When “Drag Queen Dracula” hits, what can I say? It’s another solid rock and roll song. This one sort of reminds me of late 80’s/early 90’s era Alice Cooper. Fun, horror rock with a bit of metal entwined to round out the big sound. When it ends, so does the album (fairly abruptly).
Each song on this album has a bit of a different feel than the last but each one is strong and they feel good together from the listener’s standpoint. Most horror punk bands are content with trying to sound like The Misfits and letting that be their defining quality. Influence is fine, but most bands take it too far and lose any sense of listenability. What Little Miss Stakes have done is they’ve taken these influences and recycled them into their own sound. This is how it should be done, horror punk bands. Take a lesson from these guys.
The biggest problem this EP has is that it’s over a little too soon. The problem with short, four song EP’s is that they’re forgotten in the stacks of other music we all have. We put on an album when we’re doing something and we don’t want to have to change it again in 12 minutes. However, I’ve listened several times since receiving it so this one might be strong enough to keep from getting buried.
After several listens, I did a little more research on the band and came across another four song album, Bela Lugosi’s Pro Skater 3 (awesome title, by the way). If it’s as strong as this one, I suggest we all put both albums together in one playlist and listen often.
You can visit the Little Miss Stakes bandcamp page HERE
Or their Facebook page HERE