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Thursday, 29 December 2011

Record Review - Thee Eviltones

In The Shadow Of The Beast
Dead By Mono CD & LP

Nottingham’s four-piece horror garage-surfers don’t start their debut album the way I expect, i.e. with a lot of fuzz. No, they start it with rainswept flamenco guitar and a deadpan story involving a desert journey for enlightenment that ends with a deal with the devil. It’s funny, trashy and explains not just the album title but pretty much the band too. Once you’ve then listened to a so-so go-go surf instro you’re into the heart of the album, and blow me over if it isn’t some of the best garage-punk songs I’ve heard all year. Seriously, this and The Vinyl Stitches has meant my year in garage has very much finished on a high. ‘Thee Eviltones’ is their signature tune and it’s more infectious than syphilis at a Kings of Leon backstage party. Bouncy rhythms, killer guitar, sneered vocals that are melodic...it’s got all you want in three and a bit minutes. The rocket-fuelled ‘Feel The Fear’ is threatening and claustrophobic, as all good punk should be. ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ has a familiar feel but yet I can’t place it - and that’s usually what good music does: reminds you of a warm emotion without suggesting ideas were stolen. It chorus certainly had me singing along from the first listen.

‘Eyes’ kicks off with Madmanroll’s fuzz riff that draws you in, and the chorus has another riff, this time on organ...and wow, it if isn’t all just delivered with panache and passion to release a garage-surf-punk-psychobilly mash-up that calls you back for more. They were even generous enough to throw in a cover of one of the best dark Stones cuts, ‘Paint It Black’, for seemingly no other reason that it sounds a hoot to play. Jimi Struselis voice is central to the appeal of In The Shadow Of The Beast, as he alternatively speaks, sings, sneers, and screams. He never lets up, and nor do the shit-hot rhythm section. The band have clearly learnt their chops and delivered the rock goods. Go get this album, then go seem them live. Both will darkly brighten your world in 2012.


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