Though its creator was often referred to as the clown prince of Goth, the witty work of singer/songwriter/artist/author/animator/professor Voltaire (Aurelio Voltaire Hernández to his parental units) has expanded way beyond the boundaries of gothic rock. One of those directions is children’s music, a career avenue that opened up due to inclusion of some of his songs in the Cartoon Networks’ macabre The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and the online fantasy game AdventureQuest Worlds. (The dashing demon appears as a character in both as well.) In that light, Voltaire collects many of his funniest, most accessible tunes on Spooky Songs For Creepy Kids, the soundtrack to your kids’ next trick-or-treat walk.“Brains!,” a jaunty ode to grey matter-munching aliens, is the most famous cut here, thanks to its prominent appearance in Billy and Mandy, but it’s hardly the only dastardly delight. “Land of the Dead,” “This Ship’s Going Down” and “Cannibal Buffet” put cheerily silly horror-themed lyrics to Voltaire’s patented gypsy cabaret acoustic pop for jaunty singalongs suitable for (nearly) all ages. A clever rewrite of his snarky standard “Vampire Club” that affectionately if relentlessly pokes fun at the ridiculous Twilight series is another highlight.
Not everything is played strictly for laughs. “Crusade” mixes a message about diversity into its knightly quest, while “The Beast of Pirate Bay” adds an unexpected, animal-loving poignancy to its monster-on-the-loose tale. “Goodnight Demonslayer” is a spirit-lifting lullaby for Voltaire’s own child that puts the critters under the bed on notice. Ultimately, Spooky Songs For Creepy Kids serves not only as a kids Hallowe’en party starter, but also as a convenient Voltaire best-of. Throw it on your next adult All Hallows Eve shindig to turn your guests on to one of underground music’s most distinctive talents.