Sunday, January 26, 2014

Spellbound "Stir It Up"

(Drunkabilly Records 2011)

Ballad Of Bobby Kane
Old School Boogie
Down With The Sun
Jeckyl And Hyde
Black 47
People Are Strange
The End

The Spells are back with their 4th studio album and this time around it's an eclectic mix of well executed gems all sexily packaged with homo-erotic cover art which also features the addition of a bonus DVD filmed at the Psychomania Rumble No.4 in Potsdam (good auld Billy Tombstone and his lens-tastic work finally gets the exposure he/it deserves). that that exceedingly long opening sentence is out of the way it's on with the review. The opening ditty Ballad Of Bobby Kane is a catchy little country-tinged jingle that rocks along nicely with some excellent pedal steel guitar (courtesy of Brian Finny). I thought it was a cover of some obscure cowboy song when I heard it first (I was too busy looking at the lads legs on the cover which took my attention away from the song writing credits). Anyway, when the bulge in my pants decreased I saw our Frankie Hayes wrote it. Ten of the songs here are Spellbound originals with the plaudits being shared between the aformentioned Frankie, Dave McDonald and Simon Farrell and what a versatile shower of scribes they are! Old School Boogie has instant classic of the psychobilly genre stamped all over it. A rockin' fast paced tune with some excellent hooks and catchy rhythm with a big shout out to the originators of the scene....Guana Batz, Frenzy, Restless, King Kurt, Demented Are Go, Mad Sin, Batmobile etc. all getting a big "Howaya" from the lads. Nightmares is a reworked version of the b-side of their debut single Last Breath which came out on the Raucous label over 20 years ago (when the lads were of course all only 7 years old). I never really liked the song back then but they've injected new life into it and was well worthy of resurrection from the Vaults-O-Spell! Black 47 is a very sombre and haunting song with the verses in spoken-word and the chorus erm....sang. It's based on a poem by Jane Francesca Wilde (Oscar Wilde's lovely mammy) which tells a very sorrowful tale of the Irish Famine. Original Spells drummer Adrian Hayes features on tin whistle duties on this track (and I've purposely avoided making some kind of tin whistle/penis/homosexual related innuendo here....well, I just couldn't think of one). The only cover here is The Doors People Are Strange. I hate The Doors and never liked that song either. However, the lads have turned it into a slap bass heavy rockabilly stomper...fair play to em.

In conclusion then...the boys have stepped it up a gear here. The writing goes way beyond the usual psychobilly fare (there's a smattering of horror which should shut the naysayers up but the content here is astutely written story telling put to verse). Frankie's voice is on top form with a power and vibrato unmatched on this scene, Dave's guitar, well, it sounds like he has 4 hands (as opposed to Simon who actually has 4 arses), speaking of our Simey he slaps away like he has Popeye's right arm. Our Brian brings the whole thing together with some beat-perfect drumming. The only pain in the arse is we'll have to wait another couple of years for the next Spellbound outing (on record I mean...not from the closet).
The O'Prez 2011

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