Daniel's Staff Pick: January 5, 2023

Flower Leperds: Dirges in the Dark LP (1988, XXX Records)

My staff pick for this week is Flower Leperds’ 1988 LP Dirges in the Dark. Flower Leperds were a Southern California punk band who appeared on a few compilations and released a 7” on Mystic Records called Has Hate Been Kind Enough in 1985. The Mystic 7” documents an earlier iteration of the band and it’s cool (in fact, I know many people prefer this earlier stuff), but I prefer the version of the band that came together a few years later and featured Tony from the Adolescents on vocals. This version of the band recorded Dirges in the Dark, and if you’re a fan of Tony’s vocals (particularly anything he did after the first Adolescents album), you’ll recognize his distinctive rasp right away.

While Flower Leperds’ early sound combined punk with elements of goth and metal, Dirges in the Dark is a very “rock” album. Most of the time, when punk bands decide to rock out it’s not a great idea… see records like SSD’s last LP, the Necros’ Tangled Up, or Discharge’s Grave New World. However, a few bands got it right. I’d put Dirges in the Dark alongside the FU’s Do We Really Want To Hurt You as a great rock/punk hybrid record. Both records keep the energy level high just like any great punk record should, but borrow the memorable riffing and big choruses of classic rock records like Alice Cooper’s early 70s recordings, Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, and the like. The Leperds even cover Alice Cooper’s “Muscle of Love” on Dirges in the Dark, and it’s uncanny how much Tony’s voice sounds like Alice’s in places.

Besides the great music—there isn’t a bum track in the bunch—I really like Dirges in the Dark’s EC Comics-inspired artwork. It’s a shame the record has never been repressed and isn’t available on streaming services. Thankfully, though, a patient person should be able to score a copy for somewhere in the $20 range. What a value!

Sorry, I can't find a streaming link for this album!

Leave a comment