The Bridges Who Knew Goth Could Be So Much Fun?

Corey Gorey and Gregjaw of The Bridges

Corey Gorey and Gregjaw of The Bridges

Nancy Derby

The more something defies categorization, the more tempting it is to smack a cute, witty, oxymoronic label on it. The Brides, in all their glam rock horror pop new wave gothabilly glory, may be one such instance. If it wasn’t for this damn smoking ban, I’m sure the Skybar would have been filled with the smell of cloves-instead, the crowd (at least those of us located by the bathroom) settled for the less appealing scent of urine cakes.

Formed in 2001, The Brides wooed Boston last weekend and played for a pleased-looking goth crowd that didn’t hesitate to dance in the generally unbudgeable 10-foot void between the stage and audience. Either the urine cakes were that bad or the band was that good-I found myself to be one of those people (minus the goth).

At first listen The Brides sound like a wonderful marriage between Elvis Costello and the Misfits, but after another song or two it just seems unfair or inaccurate to try too hard to make the “it’s blank meets blank” comparison.

Their label, Hell’s Hundred Records, states that it “combines 1950s horror movie fun with 70s punk mentality and 80s goth sounds.” Ponder that for a second or two and you’re getting closer to The Brides’ sound and image, but something is missing. This something is their energetic and undeniably adorable stage presence. As earnest as they are silly, Gorey Corey (guitar, vocals), Gregjaw (bass, vocals), Julia Goulia (organ), and my favorite, D.W. Friend (drums), aren’t afraid to make unfunny jokes, faces, or a host of other nonsensical, in-between-song banter and gestures.

As with most great live shows, studio attempts at recreating live performances fail to deliver. However, The Brides’ newest release, 2004’s self-titled full-length album (their first after a string of EPs), does a decent job. It’s not very often that I go to a show and buy an album of a band I’ve never previously heard, and I’ll admit that I had very high expectations of my purchase when I brought it home.

While the live show leaned more towards dance than doom, the most danceable and high energy songs like “Brooklyn Gothic,” “Whore Money,” and “Death Wears Red” are less poppy on the album, while the darker ones like “Measure of Caution,” “Hags of Old Broadway,” and “The Strange Passing of John Coal” preserve their sinister quality, but lack the special effects of Gregjaw staring down the audience.

All the songs, whether they display The Brides’ more playful or menacing sides, are never limited to either type, which makes for a well-rounded and engaging forty-five minutes. The best examples of poppy one second, ominous the next are “Hoity-Toity” and “Black Market Rebate,” but there aren’t really any tracks that don’t combine the two. If you ever get the chance to see The Brides live, don’t pass it up. To find out more about them, look for them off off off Broadway, or at t