A few minutes into Mind Control and I’ve already slipped into that dreaded Wikipedia sinkhole, descending deeper into Gnostic texts, Mojave geography, and the Beach Boys discography. There’s just no telling how weird things can get when Charles Manson is one of the major influences of a band’s music. All I know is that when Uncle Acid sings, “Don’t you worry baby, you’re safe with me,” I don’t believe that mularkey for a second.
There’s a fuzzy, retro sense of danger and sleaze on the latest album from Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, a phenomenal band from Cambridge, UK. It harkens back to memories of drive-in theaters and grindhouse cinema, pulpy horror comics and psychedelic serial killers. This is the album Ghost B.C. should wish they released in 2013, full of melody and just a touch of technicolor menace. The songs expertly walk that line between charming camp and genuine creepiness while slugging out crunchy hooks from amplifiers stacked in a swirl of cemetery fog and hookah smoke. “Mind Crawler” and “Poison Apple” rumble with mid-tempo swagger and bad boy sex appeal, while “Evil Love” feels like the James Gang started wearing black capes and playing Deep Purple songs. “Death Valley Blues” finds the middle ground The Beatles left vacant between “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Strawberry Fields,” brimming with deceptive harmonies and metallic blues.
While “Follow the Leader” drones on a bit long for my liking, this is a brilliant 70s throwback track and is that song that every band made while experimenting with the grooviest ‘shrooms they grew out in their secret gardens. “Valley of the Dolls” can’t hold a black candle to “Mt. Abraxus” or “Desert Ceremony“ earlier on the album, but its mediocrity is snuffed from memory immediately by closing track “Devil’s Work,” which stomps, swoons, and grooves to lure the listener into a trance before soaking them in the low hum of an ominous organ note befitting one of Dario Argento’s giallos. This is an album that takes an LSD chaser with every shot of whiskey and takes castle dungeon tours while stoned on its lunch break. I know, I’m anthropomorphizing this album quite a bit, but I seriously want to have a beer with it. I just wouldn’t leave my drink unattended, as I might later wake, strapped down to a concrete coffin, surrounded by women with forehead tattoos and janbiya daggers. Still, inspiring their next song might almost be worth it.
Check out Mind Control on Spotify and visit the band’s website here: http://acidcoven.com/
And head over to Rise Above Records to keep an eye on the band’s merch, which has been selling like hotcakes. Unless hotcakes don’t sell well in your region, then it’s not like that at all: http://www.riseaboverecords.com/products/view/364