Sex, drugs and rock and roll is how the saying goes. After litening to Warp 11’s latest CD, we can add Star Trek to the equation. It’s Dead, Jim is a hard hitting album that effectively ties all things Star Trek with a wide range of music. The fact that Warp 11 is not a cover band, but writes their own songs is amazing, and their music is more than good enough for non-Trekkies/Trekkers to enjoy.
I’ll state upfront that I am not a big music person, never have been. And the music I do like isn’t of the harder variety. I steer clear of alternative, punk, metal and other like music. So, even after listening to a few samples, I wasn’t sure if I would really like the CD or not. Turns out I did, quite a bit.
Warp 11 doesn’t just focus on altenative/punk style of music, they dabble in a wide range of styles, all of them on display on this album. And I think this is one of the strengths of It’s Dead, Jim. While the common theme among all the songs is Star Trek, Warp 11 flex their musical abilities and give us a nice mix of styles and songs that fit together very well. The only problem I had was with the three songs ending the CD, but we’ll get to that. Warp 11 is a four person group comprised of Cpt. Karl Miller, Chief Medical Officer Jeff Hewitt, Chief Engineer Brian Moore and Chief Science Office Kiki Stockhammer.
We start out with the guitar heavy “Gotta Make It So”, which is actually really good, even if it is quite sexual in nature. Which makes the next song an interesting follow on. “Beam Me Up To Heaven” has a Christian rock feel to it, though some people may be offended with comparing Kirk to Jesus. Even so it’s probably the most accessible song on the CD, despite its nature. I’m not sure if they’re making fun of Christianity or not. “Belt Buckle Tractor Beam” reminds me of the heavier bands from the 80’s, but better. And I’m guessing you can guess what its about. Next up is “Jerk My Kirk”, about a lonely sailor on a starship, and what he does in his spare time. Again, its obvious what this is about, but I find the euphemism to be funny and fits in well with the Star Trek theme. “Tribbles And Ecstasy” is a fast romp through all of Star Trek and drug use. Infectious, even if about drug use. “The Ballad Of Bones 2″ is a bluesy tribute to everyone’s favorite, departed Starfleet Medical Officer. Another one I really like.”Track 11” isn’t necessarily about Trek, although space references abound. It’s a duet that deals with male/female ‘relationships’. Not bad, but not the best on the CD. “Trekquiem” is about a female Starfleet officer who just happens to fall in love with one redshirt after another. Humorous, even if a bit sad. Did you know that Starfleet has a secret operations department called Section 31? Me neither. But Warp 11 did, and “Section 31” is all about Section 31. It really reminds me of the Johnny Rivers song, “Secret Agent Man” (you can thank me for the link later, John). “The Saddest Song About Star Trek” is just that, the sadness upon learning that Star Trek was cancelled and now there is no Trek on TV. A nicely done ballad with lots of references. “Please State The Nature Of The Medical Emergency” is next and oh boy, its very funny. It’s about all the medical afflictions the singer has contracted by ‘close contact’ with many of Trek‘s well known characters. Very catchy, you might find yourself singing this later. The only knock here is the harmony in parts is grating, almost dissonant. “Kirok” is Warp 11’s commentary on the classic Trekisode “The Paradise Syndrome”. It’s a catchy, American Indian sounding sound, which basically covers the entire episode. Now we get to the part where, for me, the CD stumbles a bit. “He’s Dead, Jim” is, apparently, Bones telling Kirk about all the ways someone has died. A nice idea, but I really didn’t like the vocals on this one. “I’m Dead, Jim” is about a smuggler encountering the ‘ghost’ Dr. McCoy. It has some nice references to Trek, but, again, I didn’t like the vocals for this one. “it’s Dead, Jim” ends the CD and its a nice way to end the album. It’s all about how Star Trek is off the air, and covers all of the various Trek incarnations, with nods to DeForest Kelley and James Doohan. Very well done.
One note of caution: The language on the CD can be very rough. And the emphasis on sex might bother people too. But, I’m guessing, if you’re into punk rock or the like, that sort of thing isn’t a big deal and this album is for you. As for me, I have to say I am pleasantly surprised with “It’s Dead, Jim”. While some of the vocals are uneven, overall it’s a great album that I think many people will like, even if you aren’t a Trekker/Trekkie.