How to describe Killers by US outfit Stone Deaf…Well in many ways it is like a sonic flicking through the pages of Weird Tales; each song a venture into the strange and unusual in word, breath and sound. The album presents stories and scenarios that tap into an imagination for the mysterious and uncanny but more than that it uncages tracks that treat feet and bodies like puppets.
Colorado hailing and formed in 2014, Stone Deaf have bred a sound which is a mix of desert and stoner rock, punk and alternative rock but as their third full-length reveals, it is much more flavoursome and adventurous than even that mix. Inspired by the likes of David Lynch, William S Burroughs and Hunter Thompson, Killers immediately courted ears and an instinct for the unnatural; it all starting from the first breath of its opener.
Quite simply, Cloven Hoof is one of the best tracks heard here this year. Its initial electronic shimmer alone nagged keen intrigue which the swiftly joining rhythmic animation escalated tenfold with its fertile manipulation. Fuzzy grooves and the subsequent sonic blaze that breaks increased the drama and temptation further, vocals and a predacious air springing the full trap into which we willingly fell. That wealth of flavours involved in the band’s sound is in full mischief and roar, every twist gripping the imagination like a vice of menace carrying mystery.
Truth be told, such the impression the song made we may be expected things not quite living up to its prowess thereon in but Polaroid soon set us straight. The song crashes in with a rhythmic clamour before breaking out a contagion loaded punk fuelled stroll which swiftly drew a host of other hues into its dexterous stomp. Sweeping sonic waves and the choppy radiance of keys court the instinctively esurient appetite of riffs, the song relentlessly driving forward with controlled but rapacious intent before Death Ray takes the imagination through a fifties inspired sci-fi adventure. It too has a rhythmic nagging that we could not resist as well as a grunge punk demanding which equally burrowed deep; a subsequent psych rock seducing only elevating the captivation.
Gone Daddy Gone prowls ears with its attitude loaded rock ‘n’ roll, Stone Deaf infusing classic hues with their stoner and punk instincts while The Velvet Hammer brings a scuzzy sizzle to bear on the senses with its Queens of the Stone Age-esque stalking and desert sweated mesmerism. Each track again unveils new aspects to the album and its sounds, both though almost menacing the psyche before Snake Oil compelled closer inspection with deceitful sonic weaving and melodic fascination. Again it is temptation backed by a darker intention and a persuasion lit by the imagination and unpredictability of Stone Deaf.
That rhythmic orchestration of the body is exploited by next up Tightrope, the band seemingly and instinctively knowing what our addictions are. The track in many ways gripped like a fusion of Eagles of Death Metal and Wall Of Voodoo with a touch of Screaming Blue Messiahs to it resulting in another moment within Killers that had us popping and hollering, success the following Pink Robots matched with its carnival-esque saunter and cosmic sway. On a constant march with outbreaks of unchained voracity, the track proved a tango for the imagination and a recipe for lust.
The final pair of Silverking and San Pedro Winter ensured little was desired in virulence and enterprise. The first almost taunted with its monotone tapping of ivory, wrapping that baiting with a theatre of sound and suggestion where word and sound in a descriptive unison of tension and hellish schemes. Its successor is a fiercely heated tempest of desert rock again with a life blood of intimidation and anguish within a psychotic circus of sound and invention.
Killers is one of the year’s real treats, a vehicle from and for the imagination which uses the body as its plaything. It is contagion and unhinged enterprise in one bulging issue of sonic pulp horror fun; so dare you flick its musical pages?
Killers is out now via Coffin & Bolt Records; available @ https://stone-deaf.bandcamp.com/releases
Pete RingMaster 16/09/2021
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