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The official band of Incredibly Strange Video releases debut

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The Forbidden 5
The Forbidden 5 Chop You Up!
ISV Records

You've probably heard that old line, "writing about music is like dancing about architecture." But what is writing about music ... that's about film? Well, I don't really know, but you're looking at it.

The Forbidden 5 is the official band of Dormont cult-film emporium Incredibly Strange Video, drawing inspiration for songs like "Luther the Geek" and "Night of the Bloody Apes" from that store's shelves. Which seems a little odd until you realize that the band is fronted by ISV's crazy-maned owner, Bruce Lentz, who just so happens to possess a top-shelf punky croon that's equal parts Joey Ramone and Danzig. And really, who more appropriate to sing a hiccupping chorus that ends, "psycho rat fink fuck a go go"?

On the 12-song debut, The Forbidden 5 Chop You Up!, Lentz is backed by Michael Athey and El Koppertan (guitars), Joseph Elzer (drums) and Derek Anderson (bass). Most of the songs are straightforward frankenpunk workouts with ghoulishly humorous lyrics and touches of distorted surf-guitar runs. The exceptions to this formula are among the album's most welcome diversions, such as the instrumental, "Fang Boner," and the Kinky rock&B of "Slice and Dice."

Perhaps you could call Forbidden 5 "lifestyle" music, a good soundtrack to a balanced diet of nostalgic cultural obsessions and basement hobbies, and retro musical tastes, entertainment choices and personal style. Or perhaps it's best considered as a secondary text, an irony-heavy gloss on primary pop-cultural artifacts. Whatever the case, if your chosen form of transportation is a de-commissioned hearse, or you don't wanna be buried in a "pet sematary," or you regularly laugh in the face of -- kitschy -- death, this one's for you.

The Forbidden 5 CD Release at The Rock and Roll Spook Show with Al and the Black Cats and The Arkhams. 9 p.m. Sat., May 5. Thunderbird Café, 2043 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $7. or www.myspace.com/rockandrollspookshow

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