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Thursday, 8 March 2012

Record Review - Wild Evel & The Trashbones

Tales From The Cave
Soundflat LP

A handy lesson in life is it’s not a good idea to pretend you’re not what you are. Instead sticker your debut album with the phrase “100% Neanderthal punk” so as not to confuse any passing Cliff Richard fans. This is the new outfit set-up by Wild Evel of The Incredible Staggers fame. The Austrian teamed up with former Roadrunners and these are the trash-tastic results of their initial recordings. The shows they have done in the past couple of years have been talked about by many (wild, outstanding, sometimes legendary), and anticipation in my household for this particular collection was strong. The template hasn’t shifted too much from the Staggers, though Wild Evel is now playing his unique three-finger organ in between climbing the speaker stacks. My first impression on listening to this album on headphones was that it is like having a bee flying in one ear doing a decent Dick Dale impression whilst Chuck Berry is riffing away in the other. Yes, that good!

Tales From The Cave kicks off, nay blasts off, with the shuddering, rumbling surf-fuzz riff and wailing harmonica (the latter courtesy of Bernhard Gold of fellow Austrian beat group The Jaybirds) that dominate ‘You Better Run’. Soon ‘Hot Rod Zombie’, with its Cramps-aping rhythms and vocals and its harsh honking saxophone (from none other than former Screaming Lord Sutch Savage Buddy Grabner!!), takes this song into killer, must-be-heard territory. The raw punk blast ‘Let’s Go Right Now’ and ‘The Avenue Of Death’ are simple and addictive. Spooky surf tune ‘Mobumbu Hop’ showcases another side to the band, but it’s still wild! As is ‘Cathalina’, the closest thing to a ballad on here. Ballad? I meant murder song.

To characterise Wild Evel’s vocals as primitive would be an understatement. He sings from bottom of his gut, and you must listen to the lyrics to pick up his wicked sense of humour. On ‘Beat Rat’ we’re reminded he is “living down in a dirty hole, playing primitive rock’n’roll/I look so ugly in a special way”. And on ‘My Baseballbat’ he tells his ex-lover who won’t leave him alone that “now it’s your head against my baseball bat”. With tongue firmly in cheek it’s very charming. The album is rounded out by two excellent covers: a heavy version of Art Guy’s 60s garage classic ‘Where you gonna go?’, plus a fuzzed-up cover version of sixties Swiss swingers The Sheape’s ‘Black Cat’. The latter is much better than the original!

The Trashbones invite you onboard their fuzzy Freak Train. Next stop: insane partying. The entry fee is your soul but the pleasure is worth it. Highly, highly recommended.

Phil Istine

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