Up and coming Cambridge, England-based rock band Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats are relatively new to the underground rock music scene but you wouldn’t know that by listening to their sophomore LP Blood Lust. Once you hit play, you’re greeted first with the sampled sounds of a mid-20th Century vintage rotary dial television being scrolled through what few channels it picks up with broken bites of dialog, dial clicks and intermittent television static tones. This passage is quickly followed by an abrupt, distorted lead guitar melody which sounds almost as though its notes are sizzling through the overdriven speaker of an old transistor radio and that overall tone in the musical production continues to define the sound of the entire album, bringing the listener back to an earlier time in rock music. That time is roughly somewhere in the 1960’s. The actual music here is a chilling hybrid of down-tuned Black Sabbathesque guitar riffing accentuated by more of a traditional blues-styled beat and topped off with a somewhat modern sense of melody all purified through a production technique that brings to mind the heaviest and loudest cuts of Led Zeppelin II or Fun House by The Stooges. But every riff and theme in the music is always dramatic, giving the listener a sense of urgency or impending doom. The vocalist sounds like a strung-out and absolutely mad version of John Lennon who chooses to sing in a register that is almost as high-pitched as a male voice can get before breaking into falsetto and is nearly always self-harmonized or double tracked. It’s heavy, it’s noisy, it’s melodic and it’s practically everything that rock music should be presently and should continue to be as we move headlong through the 21st century.
Each of the eight tracks on this album has a unique way of expressing itself despite the somewhat monotonous instrumentation and production. “Death’s Door” is the longest song on the album at nearly seven and a half minutes and has some of the most riveting guitar work I’ve heard in a quite some time. All of the songs exhibit this to some degree, but the way the solos compliment the harmony of the main riffs in this cut truly brings the urgency of the music to life and is only rivaled by album closer “Withered Hand of Evil” which ends with a forlorn string section overlaying the already highly emotive guitar riff. “I’m Here To Kill You” has a lockstep drum and guitar theme which recalls the early and most spastic work of The Mars Volta with incredible drumming acrobatics which retain an excellent groove despite matching the jagged rhythm of the dual guitar chord harmonies. Blood Lust is an album that takes a classic style and imbues it with a very unique personal touch by the musicians who make up Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats. It is a challenging and rewarding listen for any music lover but it will mostly appeal to those who crave a raw, vintage and engaging psychedelic rock sound. Blood Lust may put your ears through the ringer upon first listen but once you adjust to it, you’ll be glad you took the beating.
Brian, Tech Clerk