Journey to the centre of a band

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Psychobilly is a rarity in the rock landscape, in that it is yet to be entirely raped, pillaged and plundered of new ideas. In essence, it’s yet to reach its logical conclusion. That’s not to say it would finish per se, so much as stop being psychobilly, and start being something else entirely. I could go on and on about how much I love psychobilly, but I’d (certainly I’d hope I’d) be preaching to the choir.

Regardless, I got my hot little hands on a copy of Melbourne’s Manic Pistolero‘s self titled EP at a recent Brisbane gig and felt it the perfect opportunity to do a review of a solid release rather than just another live review remembered through a haze of excess and delicious cider.

The Manic Pistoleros are the interesting breed that removes themselves (mostly) of the horror aesthetic and supernatural lyric themes à la Mad Sin and Zombie Ghost Train, and take a more Fireballs direction that could easily be mistaken for punkabilly, were it not for the still criminal nature of the lyrics.

Because I’m under the scalpel Blade
They’re cutting me to pieces as the light begins to fade
under the scalpel Blade
Realised I’m helpless, crazy doctor’s had his way

Having seen and thoroughly enjoyed them a mere few nights ago, I was very excited to give the EP a rave review. However, it doesn’t do the group justice. To use the technical term, it lacks the balls of the live performance. I wish I was reviewing the gig for you, because it was rock as fuck: sleazy, heavy and it gave the whole room the feel of a dank basement, despite being on the second floor.

While most of it does lack the sack, it picks up towards the end with a slow bluesy number called ‘Under The Scalpel Blade’. The vocals are a bit off in the mix from time to time, but it hardly matters. The guitar throughout the whole EP is exceptional, giving a nice blend of the echo-y country feel and the speedier technical stuff of rockabilly.

The last track ‘Bloodbath On The Road to Nowhere’ is the closest the EP gets to what I would have expected: fast-paced and with a bass turned up to a much more acceptable level.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, see them live. It’s a hoot. If you’re in Melbourne on the 10th September, you have the chance to see them with Psychobilly wunderkind Captain Reckless and the Lost Souls.

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