Mickey & The Mutants: Touch The Madness

picture by Cathy Bloxham

picture by Cathy Bloxham

If anything from psychobilly to fifties rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly to rhythms & blues gets your feet and heart eagerly moving than we just might have the album of the year for you in the mighty shape of Touch The Madness, the debut release of UK rockers Mickey & The Mutants. Multi-flavoured and insatiably contagious, the album is a storming slab of mutated rock ‘n’ roll brought with all the craft and devilish guile you would expect from the experience and invention of its creators.

Mickey & The Mutants is made up of double bassist/vocalist Mick White (ex-Guana Batz and ex-Meteors from the Mutant Rock/Wrecking Crew and arguably best era of the band), guitarist/vocalist Norm Elliott, and Sharks drummer Paul ‘Hodge’ Leigh. It is a trio which on past history we admit we here had greedy expectations of but with Touch The Madness they surpassed everything wished for with a wonderful devilment borne from honest uncomplicated rock music. Formed in the summer of last year the band, on the evidence of their debut, only has the single intent and that is to provide an unforgettable, high quality, bruising party for the senses and passions, something they succeed in doing within the first three songs alone and reinforce time and time again across the twelve track release.

The title track opens up the excursion through the ‘bedlamic’ enterprise’ and imagination of the band, a lone guitar and distant WSRC072_300psychotic wails displaced by a barrage of rumbling beats from Hodge and sabre like riffs from Elliott. Amongst their instant persuasion the nimble fingers of White bring throaty bass slaps into the mix and slightly crazed vocals which within the devil bred brew being cast recalls The Orson Family in touch. The song is pure psychobilly and an evocation of primal urgency to join its hungry commanding mood. The track also gives portent of the album ahead, its body a twisting and varied temptation that has limbs and voice offering their well in our case, feeble blasphemous help.

The following Elvirista (Queen Of The Dead) teases with again a single coaxing of guitar before once more the rhythmic potency of the thumping drums and belligerent bass provoke and fill the song with such depth and menace you feel you are about to succumb to aural voodoo. The vocals of this time Elliott, the vocalist within songs being who penned them, have a dark demonic shadow to their narrative which like and with White before, brings great character to each slice of devilry and the release as a whole. The track smoulders with wanton seduction and enchanting intimidation which again receives no resistance as it takes passions into realms of rapture.

These Ol’ Bones explores a country rock seeded field of compulsion which sounds like a mix of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers and The Screaming Blue Messiahs, whilst veining itself with some tantalising blues guitar licks and flames which ignites further the immense pleasure the impossibly addictive song has already sparked. It completes one of the strongest starts to any album in a long time, but it does not sit back on its laurels or take a rest as the excellent Jacob And The Well Of Love and its successor Something Bad’s Comin’ Outa The Ground soon show. The first also walks with a rhythm & blues swagger and lilt to its mesmeric stroll whilst the second of the pair is a slow canter around another blues narrative that leaves the lips of satisfaction licking feverishly.

Adrenaline soon opens its boosters again as the old school stroll of Blonde Haired Assassin takes the ears in its Gene Vincent/Blue Cats like palm of sound. Not for the first time on the album the guitar of Elliott is a delicious blaze across the sky of the song whilst White leaps over the senses with his upright skills and Hodge simply hypnotises from start to finish with instinctive rhythmic bait.

If the album stopped here it would be fair to say acclaim would still only ooze from these words but thankfully it is only midway into its rewards and soon raises the temperature further with firstly the contagious punk driven Rock n Roll Messed Up My Mind and even more so with Phantom Of The Opera. The second of the two is to all extent and purposes a cover of the Meteor gem on their Wreckin Crew album of 1983, though as it was written by White anyway maybe cover is the wrong word,  nevertheless he has just reowned it with the stunning version on Touch The Madness which we would suggest surpasses the previous version, it is that good and still one of the most riveting psychobilly songs of all time.

Burn You Sinners Burn just stomps over the already seduced heart with another dark toned piece of rockabilly majesty, White and Hodge creating a menacing wrap of rhythmic menace psychotically ridden by the vocals of Elliot and his sweet toned guitar caresses. It is pure aural manna which is sidled up to in quality by the sultry and dangerous mystique of Kiss Of The Spider Woman. Winds of surf rock wash over mariachi whispers to draw out a sweltering ambience which soaks every pore of the body and senses.

The album ends on the twin psychobilly enticement of Zombie where every aspect of band and sound stalks the passions with all the relentlessness of the risen dead, the song feeding off on the eagerly given submission to its virulently infectious jaws, and the insatiable Mind Control, the only time the band really reminded of The Meteors. It has to be said expectations to like Touch The Madness were strong but to the depth that we did was wholly unexpected and greedily taken. Mickey & The Mutants has opened its account with a killer album, one which is not quite up there with the major genre classic but easily one of the very best rock ‘n’ roll albums heard in a long time.

https://www.facebook.com/MickeyAndTheMutants

10/10

RingMaster 23/07/2013

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The Creeping Ivies: Stay Wild

Having been left in rapture by their previous EP Ghost Train earlier this year, the anticipation and excitement going into Stay Wild, the debut album from Scottish rock n rollers The Creeping Ivies, was near on immeasurable. Admittedly it would have had to be a car crash of apocalyptic proportions not to have found approval, but the ten track psyche buzzbombs, to steal one of their song titles, took existing expectations and hopes and elevated them into a debauchery of passion. Stay Sick is a stunning irrepressible feast of wickedness which could grace any dance floor, riotous party, or waking graveyard.

The Creeping Ivies consists of the powerful inciting vocals and carnal riffs of Becca Bomb alongside the senses slapping, primal incendiary beats of Duncan Destruction, a duo which ignites primitive urges and raw hunger for their challenging and insatiably thrilling sounds. Together they brew up a storm which plays like the bastard sonic offspring of an illicit engagement between The Cramps, Wanda Jackson, The Orson Family, Patti Smith, and Ray Campi, whilst being violated by Alien Sex Fiend. It is an unforgettable and unique cacophony of instinctive mischief bringing the fullest most invigorating rewards.

Debut EP Rock N Roll Party in November 2011 was their first full statement of intent, though the song Shake It Up had already inspired acclaim and strong responses to the band with its appearances on a couple of compilation albums. The band also landed good airplay around the world which accelerated with the Ghost Train EP, including being featured on The Bone Orchard podcast. Shows alongside Viv Albertine of The Slits and Vic Godard & Subway Sect, as well as their own gigs have only gone to place the band as one of the most exciting in the UK, something which Stay Wild will surely turn into worldwide recognition with deserved luck.  Released on December 10th as a vinyl/download through US label Dead Beat Records, the album is a simple yet powerful trip to orgasmic satisfaction.

The album opens with the magnificent Black Cat, a track with a groove which has you scouring rooftops for the Caped Crusader and an honest swagger inviting full participation. The uncomplicated gait of the song is hypnotic enough but with the sonic scrubbing which explodes out and scorches the ear intermittently, adoration is the only outcome. The vocals of Becca demand attention as firmly as her guitar lashes, and standing side by side with the thumping rhythms of Duncan, the pair scar the air and senses with a delicious assault of lustful irreverence.

The feisty stomp of Buzzbomb rampages over the sores caused by the opener with garage punk/rockabilly energy and punchy enterprise. Carrying a spice of The Stooges, Ramones, and The Creepshow to its gait, the song is a storming treat of public disorder combined with sonic revelry and showing the variety of sound and imagination which screams out from within the album.

Madhouse Blues and Mirror Mirror step up next to fire up the passions, the first a flow of caustic strokes from Becca around her wonderfully expressive and synapse scorching vocals. The track has a punk breath to its repetitive and salty touches which steps into numerous realms of genres whilst firmly borne of the first seeds of rock n roll. It is a persistent treat taking no prisoners with its corrosive intent and sets up the second of the two with its throaty tones and ‘banshee’ squalls perfectly. The track transported thoughts to Korean horror film Into the Mirror for some reason, probably due to the The 5,6,7,8’s like spicery of the song and the sharp tingling sonics which enflame the heart throughout.

Every track on the album is a triumph and inspires the same level of wanton devotion; songs like the brilliant punk n roller Spinning, a track which is as spicy and seductive as sex, the sensational echoing tank slapper Bop Like That, the slower but equally compelling song The World, and the steamy House of Ivy, all staggering examples of the uncluttered inventive mastery and brilliance on show. The latter is a raucous maelstrom of feverish energy and body rapping beats, a sadistically teasing psychobilly binge with whispers of L7 and Bone Orchard to its striding exploits.

Completed by Rock N Roll Ghost, a song which devours the heart like a fusion of the Misfits and Horrorpops, and the final exhilarating bruising encounter of the closing title track, the sigh of deep pleasure is audible at its end and the rush to press the play button again to the whole feast of magic beyond eager. Stay Wild is simply astounding and if this was to be the only music to soundtrack the rest of our lives there would only be greedy acceptance and joy.

http://thecreepingivies.com

RingMaster 21/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Creeping Ivies: Ghost Train EP

Having just been introduced to the glorious schizophrenic garage punk sounds of UK band Frau Pouch we now have the distinct pleasure by kind invitation of the band itself to meet Scottish duo The Creeping Ivies through their new EP Ghost Train. The follow up to their debut EP Rock N Roll Party, the new EP is quite simply immense, a pure unbridled splattering of the senses from sonic expulsions squeezed from psychotic blisters. Spearing the ear with all the right sounds and searing flesh to just the right depth The Creeping Ivies are one of the most exciting bands to emerge in the UK, and the beginning of a salacious love affair with their creative manipulative sounds here.

Comprising of just vocalist and guitarist Becca Bomb and drum molester Duncan Destruction, the duo rile up more noise and reaction than most multi-personnel bands as they work their way deeper and hook with the sharpest of bone splicing musical barbs. Their music can be best described as The Cramps meets The Pixies amongst an orgy of The Orson Family, The Victorian English Gentlemens Club, The 5,6,7,8’s, and The Stooges. The result is a glorious strained melodic bedlam which brings all the decades of garage rock and punk from the 50’s through to today with infectious and unique ingenuity. It is rare to be truly excited by a band but there is no avoiding it with The Creeping Ivies.

The track Ghost Train opens up the EP and immediately one is captivated by the irresistible simplicity yet fully intrusive beats and guitar. As Becca unleashes her deep and strong vocals the first thought is that this is what The Cramps would sound like if fronted by Wanda Jackson. No note is wasted on frills and no space unfilled by stirring primal beats and energy. The addictive chorus assumes control of ones voice within seconds of its first appearance and the electrified discords of pleasure from the guitar leave one spinning. The track is an unrelenting stomp with a contagion power to make any virus enviable. The song is easily our favourite of the year so far and kept the other two tracks on the EP waiting for their chance as it invited multiple plays before moving on.

    Don’t Cry strolls in next with equal flair and instinctive charm. There is nothing as hypnotic as a song primitively basic yet stunningly crafted as The Ramones who offer more than a spice here have proven. The Creeping Ivies have tapped that same vein of invention to equal effect and success. The track is spawn from shadows within shadows to offer a disturbance found in the likes of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers and The Birthday Party with uncomplicated sounds found in early Yeah Yeah Yeahs. All these though merely add spicery to the sound with the duo consistently sounding like The Creeping Ivies predominantly.

Completed by the scuzz ball of noise Chicken Voodoo Blues the EP released on Jet Black Records, is easily one of the best heard in a long time. The track ruptures blood vessels and ear drums with its assault of festering melodic swipes and a mighty destructive rhythmic rampage leading to climaxes as distressed and chaotic as one could pray for. It is a bedlamic end to an enormously fun release and the instigator of deep frustration that there was only a triplet of psychotic mayhem offered.

The Creeping Ivies may not be to the taste of everyone but if any of the references mentioned grab your ear than this duo will be your new musical infatuation.

Grab the EP for free at http://thecreepingivies.bandcamp.com/album/ghost-train-ep

RingMaster 07/06/2012

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Thee Gravemen – Thee Gravemen

 

You cannot get much more simple a set up than offered by trash rock ‘n’ roll band Thee Gravemen or anything as incessantly infectious. Consisting of just a senses cruising guitar and insistent primal beats the duo from the UK, now Malmo, Sweden based, with their self titled album have created a release that knows its sound, loves its sound and is determined you will too.

Thee Gravemen were formed in the autumn months of 2009 by guitarist and vocalist Sir Lee Tea and drummer Devilish Daz Trash, who initially were just doing a one off gig as a duo. Luckily they decided to continue though it was through the lack of finding a suitable stand up bass player as much as anything that tipped the decision to remain a twosome. Behind them the musicians have a good pedigree with Tea having been part of the garage rock band Thee Exciters as well as currently part of Swedish r&b band The Branded, and Trash having been part of UK psychobilly/punk band Skitzo, under the name of Strut. As Thee Gravemen the pair have unleashed a raw and uncomplicated fusion of garage punk, psychobilly and coarse surf veined fuzzed up rock ‘n’ roll, a dirty and boisterous sound that sears the flesh and resonates within the bones.

As can be imagined the songs come from the darkest shadows of the two, the lyrics borne from horror movies, wicked intent and from beneath disturbed ground. The album grabs with an icy clawed grip from the opening ‘Hey There Pretty Baby’ to squeeze and tease, resisting the urge to let go right until the last lingering note of the album passes on. The opening track is relatively subdued compared to what follows throughout the rest of the album but it is immediately noticeable that the production though unfussy and pretty straight forward gives a rich generally full sound, in a way surprising considering the scarcity of instruments.

The album buzzes and crawls over the senses through track after track and though the core of the music is a set spine each song comes from different and enticing angles. ‘Come On’ is a slightly darker track than the opener and reminds of 80’s band The Orson Family whilst the instinctive rhythm led ‘Digging Graves’ has a scuzzed up garage energy that recalls their former bands in many ways.

There is not a weak track on the album; each having their own heart of siren like appeal though it is the beat and rhythm led tracks that make the strongest connection. The pulse beat stomp of ‘Friday At The Hideout’ and the voodoo raw primal rhythms of ‘My Girlfriend Is A Werewolf’, both with a Guana Batz meets Screaming Jay Hawkins like vibe lift the excitement higher but it is when the band go into the realms of The Cramps that they really stand out. ‘My Witch’ is glorious with its distinct twang as distinctly manipulative as the song’s character and ‘Six Feet Down’ alongside the outstanding ‘Shake It’ rip through the ear with primitive ease. The band’s cover of ‘Green Fuzz’ is equally excellent; a very valiant version of The Cramps’ version that easily exceeds the Randy Alvey & Green Fuz original.

Complete with another cover in the hypnotic shape of the Sandy Nelson song ‘Let There Be Drums’ and the immensely fun outro track with after a moments breath ends with a track that sounds like a fictional nightmare when Demented Are Go’s Sparky popped his cherry with Eugene Reynolds of The Revillos, the album is simply fantastic. Released on Dirty Water Records it makes no demands or offers any unnecessary frills but just feeds the soul with inspiring, mischievous and thoroughly essential rock ‘n’ roll.

RingMaster 11/02/2012

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