Monday 2 October 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – “Vol. 1” (Reissue)

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full length
Date Released: 13/10/2017
Label: Rise Above Records

Imperfect though it may be, "Vol. 1" is a fascinating introduction to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats' bold vision


"Vol. 1” CD//DD//LP track listing

1. Crystal Spiders
2. Witches Garden
3. Dead Eyes of London
4. Lonely and Strange
5. Vampire Circus
6. Do What Your Love Tells You
7. I Don’t Know
8. Wind Up Toys

The Review:

Psychedelic band Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats has gained somewhat of a cult status over the years. However, it is the best kind of cult status imaginable. The group has at once achieved notoriety while not gaining a level of household name currency. Such presence is a sweet spot for musicians: people know you, but not their moms, and not being played at the mall is absolutely not for lack of skills. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats' style of stoner rock with old-school heavy metal burnish has flashes of panache that bands like Electric Wizard have in abundance. Over its releases, the Kevin Starrs-fronted group has supplemented that with pulpy themes in its music and as such their music is truly fun to listen to, and the band's music has received well-deserved acclaim for it.

If you have been following Uncle Acid over its young career – from 2011's “Blood Lust”, 2013’s “Mind Control” or “The Night Creeper”, the 2015 entry – chances are the group hooked you with its fuzzed out freaky tales that always came across as more Dusk to Dawn than Leatherface. It is a catchy and creative mix that draws comparisons to some of the genre's all-stars, not to mention progressive acts like Pink Floyd. Among the stories that have circulated was how the celebrated band's story began on a 2010 debut, which originally made the rounds via CD-R. However, that recording has been elusive to most fans, save Youtube downloads and live shows. That is, until its longtime label, Rise Above Records, stepped in to reissue the out-of-print first recording.

With "Vol. 1," fans of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats finally get a glimpse at the band's formative work. Perhaps it is no surprise that it is not the best the crew has performed, but it is among the most original.

"Crystal Spiders" begins the album, and it is filled with the energetic guitar work and the sticky rhythms you know of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. The back story to "Vol. 1" is that it is truly a do-it-yourself endeavor. It was reportedly self-recorded. This hardscrabble tale proves readily apparent as you tune in for the duration. A little too much volume and some loose production are evident. With "Witches Garden," the vocals are a bit more washed out by the rest of the arrangement than usual. However, it, just as with the next song "Dead Eyes of London," is a priceless look at a performer building a sound it is today loved for making. Its cornerstones – that classic rock 'n' roll feel, a lyricism that weaves a mystical tale into the music – are gestating on its debut. On "Lonely and Strange," the bass and drums take a more prominent role, just like they do in later releases and are a hallmark of this vibe. Imperfect though it may be, "Vol. 1" is a fascinating introduction to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats' bold vision.

Starrs has been quoted as saying he wanted to oversee remixing and ensuring the new record met the standard he expected for fans. He does an admirable job in touching up the base material. "Do What Your Love Tells You" in the original telling, available online, gets its retro doom amped up on "Vol. 1." Similarly, the closer, "Wind Up Toys," is markedly improved from the original.

If you are a fan and caught "Vol. 1" online, the reissue is a treat you will not want to miss. And if you are curious about this burgeoning UK phenomenon, "Vol. 1" may help you understand how it all began.

"Vol. 1" will be available here from 13/10/2017

Band info: facebook