• Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats - Vol. 1

    Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats - Vol. 1
    Released by: Rise Above Records
    Released on: October 13th, 2017.
    Year: 2017
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    Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats - Vol. 1 was originally released on Friday 13th February 2010 on CD-R, only thirty copies were made and it took a few months to even move that many. At the time, nobody know who Kevin Starrs was, this band was fairly unheard of. Seven years later, that’s change and Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats have developed a serious following. As such, the recording is being put back into circulation through Rise Above Records, remixed and remastered by Starrs himself (who didn’t want to reissue it until he had time to clean it up as best he could). At this point in time the band was made up of Starrs on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Kat on bass and Red on drums making the English act a ‘power trio’ in the truest sense of the word.

    The album opens with the three and a half minute long Crystal Spiders and the Black Sabbath/old school doom influence is apparent right from the start. Starrs’ vocals show an obvious Ozzy influence, though he cuts his own path, while the down tuned guitar work is very Iommi-esque.

    That trait is even more obvious in the five and a half minute long Witches Garden, though it works some ominous keyboards into the mix quite nicely, shades of Deep Purple evident throughout. This one is seriously fuzzy and you can hear, even with the remastering, that this was done with a low budget and that the production is less than perfect but it’s a very cool song with a psychedelic horror movie vibe to it.

    Dead Eyes Of London, at just over four minutes, is a bit more upbeat than the first two tracks but so too is it weirdly catchy and again, that fuzzed out guitar sound is right up front in the mix in a big, big way. The chorus is almost hissed through the microphone, while again there’s some keyboards here alongside the guitar, bass and drums.

    Lonely And Strange, an eight minute track, starts off with what is best described as carnival music, something akin to an old pipe organ playing away for a bit, before a ramshackle barrage of guitar work flails around for a bit. Again, things get fuzzy, distorted even, and it’s fairly sloppy sounding but there’s a cool mood to this track that again harkens back to the darker side of sixties and seventies rock. It’s dark and weird and somehow kind of seedy sounding right through to the mellow, acoustic outro.

    Vampire Circus, a six minute track that shows the band’s horror movie influences (and likely love of Hammer films) shining through has a bit of an early Alice Cooper feel to it with hefty doses of The Stooges tossed in and maybe some Jefferson Airplane too. It’s swirly, psychedelic and trippy but it still retains that weird darkness that’s a big part of the band’s appeal.

    Do What Your Love Tells you returns to Sabbath worship territory, a track that clocks in at almost seven minutes in length and has a slightly cleaner, more polished sound than the rest of the material on the album. Having said that, there’s a lot of effects and distortion here giving the vocals an ominous, haunted sound that serves it well. That riff though… it’s big, it’s heavy and it’s sludgy in all the right ways. Then with two minutes left or so, the track shifts gears, throws in a bunch of weird acoustic playing overtop of the wall of sound already created and completely throws you for a loop.

    Don’t Know, at four minutes in length, is a bit faster and more aggressive than anything else on the record but not at the expense of the band’s vintage doom sound and psychedelic/occult rock influences. Again, there’s a Stooges vibe here that kicks no small amount of ass and if the production is less than perfect, making it a bit tough to appreciate the organ in the mix, it’s still a fairly mesmerizing mishmash of sounds and styles.

    Wind Up Toys ends the record off with an eight minute psychedelic onslaught. Starrs vocals are alien here, high pitched without hitting falsetto territory, whining without wounding whiney, while the lengthy instrumental stretch that makes up the middle portion of the song sees the playing get even more unusual and bluesy than even the other tracks on this record showcase.

    Hearing this early material is interesting – it is in many ways a band in its infancy with the levels all the way up and distortion and fuzz at times valued over clarity, but it’s pretty cool to hear it. There are, here, the seeds of what the band would grow into and while this may be, in many ways, a demo album more than anything else you can discount how genuinely cool so much of this material is.