Who said goth music has to be sad? Fronted by Portland mainstay Sonia Weber (Your Rival, Our First Brains, Loving and Caring), Alien Boy incorporate catchy choruses with the sort of darker sounds and navel-gazey lyrics that make you want to put on too much eyeliner and smoke clove cigarettes at a cast party. "Swell," the first track on the band's latest EP, Stay Alive, starts with the standard wailings and distorted guitars you'd expect from a goth band, but quickly elevates the mood with the energetic drive of a contemporary pop band. A self-described "gay goth poppy punk band," Alien Boy deftly bridges the gap between the spookier sounds of bands like Joy Division and the Cure with the earworm qualities of modern pop music.
Standout tracks include "If We Don't Speak," which bolsters the gloomy subject matter with a bright bass line and upbeat percussion. By blending the extremes of the emotional spectrum, Alien Boy makes you want to dance and feel sad at the same time, which, honestly, is probably the most goth thing a band could do.
Alien Boy plays the ZACC Below Sat., Sept. 30, along with Tag Along Friend, Perfume V and Tormi. Doors at 7 PM, show at 7:30. $7.