To create rock ‘n’ roll alchemy as scintillating and fresh as this you just have to suspect that the horned one did have a hand in its breeding as the title of this voracious riot suggests. The Devil Made Us Do It declare The Long Tall Texans on their return after eight years with a new album, but whatever part he had in its creation and the type of dues met all credit and ardour goes to the Brighton band who after two and a half decades still stand mighty in creating essential blistering rock n roll.
Jammed to the rafters with predominantly Garry Castleman penned songs brought to insatiable life and realism by brother and guitarist Matt, drummer Theo, and vocalist/slap bassist Mark Carew ( also of The Hotknives), The Devil Made Us Do It rampages over and with the passions in a thoroughly captivating and enthrallingly expansive manner. It is a feisty merger of rockabilly, psychobilly, punk, and country twisted in one unique and impossibly contagious riot of rock ‘n’ roll. It has to be said that The Long Tall Texans has been doing this for ages, since day one to be fair, but their thirteen track stomp fest undoubtedly is their finest slab of devilry in a long time. Produced and engineered by Mark Roberts at Empora Recordings and mastered by Tim Rowkins, it is the first essential blaze of rock ‘n roll in 2014, a fire you suspect which will still be heading the field in this year’s twilight moments.
The album turns the ignition for the ride ahead with the instrumental Taxi, a flaming climate of melodic heat in a western environment which is more sunset than sunrise and a wholly addictive start to the album. With a breath of surf rock to its smouldering temptation it makes way for the rascality of Girlfriend, a contagion clad stroll of sonic grooves and irrepressible hooks wrapped by a blend of rockabilly soaked in fifties irresistibility and just a little salacious enticement. The song requests rather than demands attention and the listener’s vocal assistance but the outcome is the same, full submission to its call.
The cantering psychobilly charge of Kamikaze Killer is the band recalling its early days in many ways, a rapacious anthemic temptation of a song which again refuses to take no for an answer in its request on emotions and limbs. A glorious guitar sculpted blaze only adds thicker allurement to the track before the western swung Kill Me saunters in and seduces the ears all over again in its own individual enrapturing style. Four tracks in and every song on the album has been of unique character and presence to each other but uniformal in their efficiency in securing the fullest allegiance to their rock ‘n’ roll driven desires and nothing changes across the rest of the release.
The stalking rabidity of Sex, Beer & Psychobilly chews on the senses next whilst simultaneously seducing them with grooves and riffs which demand a returning lust for their teasing. The guitar of Matt conjures a weave of addiction forging lures around flumes of melodic acidity; it is pure sonic manna and with the thumping beats of Theo caging recipient and song within the predatory sway of Carew’s irrepressible slapping, the song is another peak in the mountainous range of The Devil Made Us Do It.
The pop lit Terry and the following riveting Let Me Go powers through the ears with a punkabilly urgency and growl which in the case of the first reminds of Australians Living End whilst the cowpunk spiced second of the pair offers an evolving roam through magnetically rich and varied flavours of rockabilly. For a great many the band deservedly is up there with the legends such as The Meteors, Demented Are Go, Batmobile, Stray Cats etc. and these songs alone prove to newcomers just why, whilst the album simply puts in stone the fact that The Long Tall Texans are masters now and then of raucous and mercilessly virulent rockabilly in all its off shooting guises.
The excellent I Hate Myself again ventures into more punk based alchemy whilst its successors, the ridiculously addictive Covered In Sin and the country seeded What Part Of Fuck Off Don’t You Understand?, exploit the established rampant appetite for the whole release with their own epidemic of sonic inducements. The first of this pair is the stealer of top honours on the song, the dual vocal styling as potently compelling as the ravishing spree of musical toxicity led by riffs and hooks carrying more barbs than a jigsaw. Its companion is an argumentative encounter lyrically and a taunting slice of country rock musically veined with spices of country swing alongside tasty rhythm and blues additives, it and its predecessor continuing the extensive variation of the release and craft in songwriting impressively.
The outstanding I Fell In Love With A Zombie and the simply exceptional I Used To Feel Funny provide more rigorously stimulating slabs of prime rockabilly and danger drenched psychobilly respectively, though as always it is just half of the story as numerous flavours stoke up the fires within the songs and the now over fed but still greedy emotions receiving them. The closing Feels Like Ice brings it all to a towering conclusion with a sensational heavily weighted brawl of intensive psychobilly scored with rockabilly lunacy and glam rock wantonness. If The Sweet were rockabilly you suspect they would have sounded like this hellacious bone rattling stamping provided by the album’s finale. Listening to it again as this is written maybe that best track decision is still under review after all.
The Sunny Bastards released The Devil Made Us Do It is quite simply one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll albums of the past decade with little more to be added except to say that The Long Tall Texans still makes the majority of bands, rockabilly or psychobilly sound like mere novices.
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