Release Date: Sep 4, 2015
Record label: Rise Above Records
Head-nodding nirvana from deepest Cambridge. Mindful of mystery as a smart way to get some attention, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats began their career by promoting themselves as faceless, witchy occultists with a fascination for schlock horror.. _ _.
Goodness knows what prompted them to call themselves Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – a name that makes them sound like Dr and the Medics’ less funny cousins – because there’s nothing comedic about this Cambridge stoner/doom/psych quartet. They do nothing new, endlessly trying to pinpoint the moment in time at which the darker end of psychedelia toppled over into proto-metal – you’ve barely begun playing the album before the words “Black” and “Sabbath” enter your head. Although they occasionally overindulge – the eight minutes of Slow Death are aptly titled – for the most part The Night Creeper is taut and dynamic, because Uncle Acid don’t just think up a churning riff and run with it, the riffs serve songs with melodies that sometimes (as on the title track) verge on pretty.
There was a sort of magic in the pulp horror films of the 1960s and ’70s. Creators took liberties with their use of vibrant color to make blood run redder. Their dynamic camera movements gave murder scenes a psychedelic and dreamlike quality. Grimy, grainy, and trashy though they were, there still remained this pupil-dilating and immersive aspect that, sadly, has disappeared from the horror movies of the present.
Review Summary: Uncle Dull and The SlowbeatsFive years ago, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats took the world by surprise with their Black Sabbath worship. This late '60s-early '70s pastiche is part of the stoner/psychedelic/doom revival that has taken off in the past decade and Vol. I was a chaotic, lo-fi affair that offered both casual and hardcore fans of the genre that urgent, raw journey through a darkened soul's sins.
Homage, or ripoff? It’s an important distinction to make. Is your art calling back to a period with a loving touch, or are you nicking bits and pieces of the past, repurposing them as your own? And a question beyond that concerns what comes next: does your art wallow in the past or expand on its principles? These are the questions any retro-loving band must be asked, and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats are nothing if not a audiophiles for decades long gone. Unfortunately, when these questions are posed, they can only come up with a shrug.
When the revered Rise Above Records re-released Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats’ Blood Lust album in 2012, the metal media were only happy to help create an enigma: The Cambridge, England foursome were immediately included in the occult rock revival—an artificial movement used to categorise a small handful of unrelated bands who chose to tunefully sing about Satan while trading ‘70s-styled hard rock licks. And because Uncle Acid’s music recalled a time when the ‘flower power’ drug haze faded and ‘free love’ dried up, writers fell over themselves trying to find ways to cram in references to the Manson Murders, B-movie splatter films, and a whole host of imagery revolving around Satan, drugs, and Kool-Aid drinkin’ suicide cults. (Hell, they’re still at it three years later.
As the internet scrubs clean our memories of what the past was really like (even as it theoretically makes more of it available than ever), it's sometimes difficult to recall how aggressively atomised music used to be. Genres and their fans kept themselves to themselves, with heavy metal/hard rock in particular exiled to the outskirts of good taste. Cross-over into even the alternative mainstream was rare, with Guns N' Roses perhaps being the first to achieve serious penetration in the indie kid market.
Nothing beats a terrific vocalist. In Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Kevin “K.R.” Starrs elevates the Cambridge, UK, band’s Sabbathy psych doom to delicious heights thanks to a wheezy, distortion-heavy sneer that’s creepy, sexy and stylish. You can picture his smile curled up Joker-style, his fingertips perched together, as he sings of evil women and murderous nights.