CD Review: Thee Eviltones’ Beat Massacre
I’ve been introduced to Thee Eviltones at a time when, quite coincidentally, I’ve been reading Simon Reynolds’ Rip It Up and Start Again. I was under the impression that the Eviltones were more garage than anything, with maybe a little bit of Cramps psycho-billy thrown in for good measure. One good listen says otherwise. The sparseness of songs like “No Love” or the dark lyrics to “Razor” remind me more of the goth bands Reynolds discusses in his excellent retrospective of the UK’s post-punk movements.
Imagine if The Fleshtones were joined by Link Wray and Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. That’s Thee Eviltones.
“Murder in the Dark” is a bit of surf-garage but at the same time strangely reminiscent of The Godfathers while “Just Tell Her” has a little bit of everything, at times sounding like an outtake from a B-movie sci-fi or perhaps a possessed version of Beach Blanket Bingo. Then at other points in the song, it could be a lost Buzzcocks track.
A more recent frame of reference may be The Heartless Devils, an American band that nevertheless shares a similarly twisted look at music and life.
The strangest and most interesting track on the LP however, is the final song. “It’s Christmas” is vintage garage with Fleshtones attitude, but with the twisted lyrical perspective of Joey Ramone. In the end, the songwriter decides he’d rather spend Christmas with a bottle.
“The worst of times. The thirst of times. Finest of times. Winest of time. Merry Christmas my old friend. You’re the only one for me”.
I find Beat Massacre to be enjoyable although I must admit, it seems as if the band is going in a million directions at once. It ain’t powerpop, but it is rather addictive. Beat Massacre is either a stepping stone in Thee Eviltones’ development or a sign of schizophrenia.