Giving a voice to the heart of the graveyard and brewing a potent irresistibility to its darkest musical shadows UK psychobilly band Doctor Caligari is a band which leaves the heart inflamed and dark hearted tendencies wide awake. The trio from Cardiff produce mischievous slices of rock which in the shape of their self-titled EP just ignites the fullest passions. With a psychobilly core and a strong breath of rock n roll to its presence the release is a contagious riot of energy, sound, and pleasure.
Doctor Caligari began as the solo project of song writer and guitarist Johnny Horror, the band name taken from 1920 German silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, though originally the project was to be called Doctor Caligari’s Secret. As he worked on an EP of songs in the closing darkness of 2011 his search for a vocalist linked him up with former Ghostfire member Mr. E. Together the pair decided to move the project from a studio based band to one also embracing the live arena. Next to be recruited was drummer Gwyn Jones whilst for the recording of the Neil Michael Waters produced EP, the band was joined by bassist Joe Grogan (Graveyard Johnny’s, Estevez) and session drummer Stephen MacLachlan (27th Letter Music).
The release begins with the Western scented Creepy Horror Town, a track with heated skies and a golden eager touch to its infectious stroll. The vocals of Mr. E. have a clean yet intimidating tone as he unveils the dark tale whilst the guitar of Horror winds the passions round its every string and note inciting further primal instincts to those teased into play by the stirring bass and drum incitement. The track is a mix of Zombie Ghost Train and Reverend Horton Heat distilled into a refreshing wash of seduction which could grace the latest Tarantino film with ease.
The brilliant She Likes It Spooky steps forward next to unleash its wanton rhythms and compelling grooves. The track stomps through the ear with a viral infection of lingering melodic hooks and rampant rhythms whilst again the great vocals complete the deal for the heart. With his tones on the song one is reminded of Karl Blake in his Shocked Headed Peters guise, the track itself seemingly holding loud whispers of the song I, Bloodbrother Be. As the track romps across its compelling course, voice and limbs are recruited with a not to be denied hunger with a fullest pleasure in place by the time the last delicious note has placed its thrilling touch upon the ear.
The following magnetic storm London After Midnight is just as insatiable and impressive, its transfixing onslaught of thumping rhythms and incendiary sonic teasing an unrelenting joy. The song likes its predecessor riles up the senses with a magnificent embrace of raw edged energy and irresistible rockabilly shadowed playfulness. The guitar of Horror manipulates and taunts with a majestic wink of its eye whilst the bass of Grogan is a pulsating brooding delight adding darker depth against the perpetually excellent vocals. The two tracks side by side make the release an essential psychobilly purchase on their own but the band are if nothing else generous with their quality and thrilling encounters as shown by the next two songs.
The EP is completed by firstly the zombie cored assault The Dirty Dead which offers a senses slapping bass display to drool over whilst once more the guitar lights the skies of a song with sonic flames which burn and seduce. Lastly the outstanding (She’s Got) Corpses in Her Bed is a rampaging bruise of frantic energy and activity from all elements. It has an unappeasable greed to grab the soul and ignite the feet and as it sets free its unrestrained uproar of sadistic glory with dictating gnawing bass sounds and barbed compelling drums, it simply leaves one exhausted whilst basking in psychobilly at its very best, a statement more than appropriate for the whole of this excellent release.
If you are lucky enough to grab the CD of the EP, but move fast as it is almost sold out, there is the additional triumph of The Curse Of The Monkey’s Paw to get excited over, but even without the song the download version of the EP is a must have for all fans of rock n roll.
Check out The Bone Orchard podcast on January 23rd @ www.audioburger.com for the psychobilly special featuring amongst others this impressive band.
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