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The Dahmers - Down In The Basement

  • Published in UNX

Here's one for your Hallowe'en party. Eighteen tracks of Scandinavian garage rock with a bit of a horror twist. 

Down In The Basement turns out to be the band's third album so they may not be new to everyone reading this. By all accounts though they've significantly honed their craft over the period 2016-2018 when these songs were written and recorded. 

Which is handy given the recent history of similar bands from their part of the planet - Mando Diao having failed to live up to early promise and The Hives basically treading water after the first couple of albums.

The songs either then chug along pleasantly ('Street Of The Dead') or race to a close ('Murder Ride', 'Hit 'N' Run') as the Swedish quartet plumb the depths of classic rock, '60s punk and Hammer Horror. The Star Spangles come to mind as a sorely missed reference point.

X-rated horrors from the past are referenced ('I Spit On Your Grave') as are murderous characters ('The Ripper'). The latter does though feature the rather overused sample about having a good time, getting loaded & riding motorcycles as popularised by Primal Scream (and Mudhoney before them) a few decades back. It doesn't really seem to have any bearing on the content of the song but hey ho.

It's a while since a band new to me has given me the feeling that seeing them live would be exciting, rather than just a chance to possibly be entertained in person by a well rendered version of their album but with Down In The Basement  The Dahmers have succeeded in getting me to keep an eye out for them on a bill somewhere, albeit that would still really need to be in Edinburgh at a weekend but we'll see what the coming months hold. 

Down In The Basement is available from Lövely Records here.


Fu Manchu - Clone Of The Universe

  • Published in Albums

Bang! Like a stunt car through a pile of boxes, Clone Of The Universe, Fu Manchu’s 12th album, hits your ears with opening track 'Intelligent Worship' going off at 100 miles an hour.

And the pace doesn’t let up until halfway through this all-too-short new album. There’s everything you’d expect from the band's years of accumulated experience contained within the 7 tracks – fuzz and wah-wah, stops, starts, drum rolls, raging guitar solos and, of course, references to racing your hot rod down a Californian highway, whether in an illegal drag race or otherwise. However, the biggest and best surprise is saved for the end. 'Il Mostro Atomico' features a guest performance from Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson and is an epic 18 minute behemoth, a complete contrast to the short, sharp, punchy numbers before. The Nuclear Monster (rough translation) weaves in and out, speeds up and slows down several times yet even at 18 minutes it’s not long enough by half!

After numerous plays Clone Of The Universe struck me as more of a mini album/EP (remember them?) and a bit of a let down considering the band have been away for 4 years. Despite that epic final track and all the boxes being generally ticked by the other six songs, nothing on here comes close to earlier albums King Of The Road, California Crossing and The Action Is Go. Yet Scott Hill (lead singer/guitarist) suggests it’s their best work to date. I'm of the opinion that their earlier offerings gave a lot more of depth across all tracks but then I suppose they have to still keep themselves interested as well as the fans.

Having said that seeing Fu Manchu perform this album live might be a different bag of piston rods but I was underwhelmed, content but underwhelmed. And with only one date in the UK I’ll not get to test my theory.

Clone Of The Universe is available from At The Dojo here.

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