Hear that creaking and the scraping of fingernails on wood in the dead of night? That is the sound of UK horror punk band Thirteen Shots rising from the cold earth to unleash their debut album Vaudeville. Consisting of eight crypt borne tunes the album stomps and fiddles with the senses with an eager and infectious lingering charm and mischief. The album might not be flawless but it is fresh, vibrant and thrilling, an attention seeking bundle of fun.
The Birmingham based band creates a sound that combines sixties garage rock, horror punk and rock n roll with occasional infusions of psychobilly. It grabs with an eager bony hand to lead the ear in a gravestone leaping tour through realms of the dead and superheroes, each and every detour either a mesmeric wanton skeletal dance or a dirty riled up roughage of sound. Always fun, often silly and at times leaving one wondering why, the release simply does what it says on the tin, offer a full on varied entertainment that makes no apologies in having fun, this is Vaudeville.
Miss Eerie opens up the casket of Vaudeville, a decomposed love song with throbbing bass and firm rhythms spiked with acidic guitar tones and riffs. Part Misfits, part Thee Exciters, and more Johnny Thunders the song is a solid piece of punk rock. The band do not go hell for leather at any point almost having a slight reserve in their intentions but this allows each to shine and bring a distinct part to the sound, from the crisp attack of guitarists Izzy and Joe with eager backing vocals to match, the sinister basslines of GMT (George), and the bone rapping beats of drummer Chelsea, the band find a clean yet dirty mix that brings a strength to this and each song. With the keen punk vocals of Johnny Roxx Rose scraping up and bringing forth the lyrics there is a accomplished feel to all songs even if some are more successful than others.
This strong start steps up a gear with Inspector George. A recognisable grooved bass and guitar riffs teases the ear whilst the drums bring a metallic punch to open up the listener before the surge of punk energy. The song switches back and forth keeping things interesting and only the feeling the song wants to explode into something more vigorous at times but never does brings a slight question against it.
Boogie Man continues in similar vein, again suggesting there is more waiting within to spring out but never realised, still it is a very agreeable track that leaves its swagger behind long after it departs. This point marks the moment the album really kicks up some dust as the next three songs prove what a current great band Thirteen Shots is and the distinct promise they have within them for the future. Danzig, and yes you know its theme without us saying, is a hypnotic slice of horror punk, bringing a flavour of the man without stepping on toes and taking the effect too far. This is rock n roll of the Devil and a thoroughly pleasing thing for us mortals.
This Looks Like A Job For Batman leaps in next with cape flying; the band twisting the legendary theme riff into a Meteors flavoured psychobilly taunting that is delicious. With added ska punk grooves and touch of The Adicts it is a gem that demands instant replay before moving on. The song is a must and sets itself up for best track on Vaudeville until the following Dead Girls Don’t Scream makes its claim. A New York Dolls wrapped rock n roll with essences of Misfits and Resurex pours out of the track, a full rounded flavoursome treat that carries a sing-a-long lure and contagious hook to ensure it cannot be denied.
The release is completed with the easy going temptress that is The Graveyard Stomp and the American Rock Song before it. The Graveyard Stomp is all about instant bonding with very obvious hooks and riffs you have heard often elsewhere and that many bands have played with to far less fun. American Rock Song is a good garage rock/punk song but does not quite live up to the rest of the songs , its taste a little bland in comparison but taken as a separate entity works very well and is easy to return to.
Vaudeville is great fun, a strong album that sets Thirteen Shots as a band with an impressive future. Maybe right now their own distinct sound is still trying to break out but it will surely come and with this much of a pleasing release that is a promise that breeds a great anticipation.
Thirteen Shots – Danzig