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.