This L.A. crew stumbles around in disheveled thrift suits, mussed pompadours, and wingtips, looking like '30s sad sacks out for that spare dime. But it's not that the Starvations were born too late. If anything, their slashing greaser-folk sounds timeless -- assuming that the timeline starts circa 1981 L.A., with roots punks like the Gun Club, X, and Flesheaters. The Starvations' focus is the gritty glory of the gutter-dwellers, which seems so passé nowadays. Most folks like good news. The Starvations like bad moods.
Not that they're dour. Like their closest spiritual kin, the Pogues, the Starvations turn tales of drunken embarrassment, empty pockets, shady women, and suicide into bawdy foot-stompers. And given singer Gabriel Hart's scraggly, gut-wrenching vocals and macabre lyrics, the songs never succumb to moping. They get to the heartbreak more quickly this time, presenting the requisite gothic ballad ("Purgatory") by the second song, later wandering into gloomier thickets ("Dare to Forget," "This Poison"). Our main Bitch: at 11 songs in 26 minutes, it all goes by a little too fast.