Cheat the Devil
Young Werewolf Records, 2008
Cheat the Devil, the latest from Philadelphia’s Young Werewolves, is Vincent Price in a remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. No, scratch that. It’s Vincent Price driving down Skid Row in a stolen car with Boris Karloff riding shotgun and Hunter S. Thompson in the backseat huffing ether with bikini-wearing Siamese triplets. It’s got the campy good fun you’ve come to associate with Psychobilly and Deathrock, combined with a bracing punk edge.
As a wee thing, I listened religiously to my mother’s X CDs. (You thought your childhood was strange?) Guitarist Nick Falcon obviously cut his fangs on Los Angeles and Wild Gift. He’s got Billy Zoom’s driving clunky power chords down pat, with a side helping of surf music. On “Run Away” he gives us a stinging lead that’s dirtier than The Aristocrats: The Director’s Cut. On the closing track, he joins in a spiky lockstep with the drum and bass combo of Jonny Wolf and Dana Kain while on the secret final cut (which will remain a secret) he does things to Duran Duran that are still illegal in many states.
Although they are a humble trio, the Young Werewolves can howl in harmony. The vocal interplay between Dana K. and packmates Falcon and Wolf at times recalls Kate Pierson and Fred Schneider of the B-52s. At other times it brings to mind Eileen Wuornos and Charles Manson, complete with Wolf as Jeffrey Dahmer on percussion. (Don’t ask where he got that drumset). “Gala Monster Rally” may be tongue-in-cheek ...but whose tongue is it? “Guns, Guns, Guns” is somewhere between the Stray Cats and a drug-addled Elvis clutching his pistol and staring intently at the television. Meanwhile, “Dr. Jekyll and
Mr. Hyde” features opening narration from Sid
“Captain Spaulding” Haig, who shows why he is the scariest Armenian this side of the Kardashian sisters.
This is rock the way it used to be. It’s as if the Young Werewolves dug up the corpse of rock and roll, put a cigarette in its mouth and a beer in its hands, then propped it up on a stool and took pictures. In fact it’s exactly like that. And if that isn’t worth $12 I don’t know what is. Buy it now before the authorities arrive.
RATING: 4 Broomsticks
This review first appeared in newWitch #18