With a back alley black market grease slickened sleaze, Killer Tone Jones comes out sliding and grinding. It don’t take much digging to find my long term flirtations with ending ‘a-billy’, and this cool screwball twist of psyched-out bug-eyed surf slips on into my ears just like treacle.
Light years ahead of their previous EP, these mainly instrumentals span all incarnations of rockabilly, psychobilly and voodoo boogaloo. From the Nekromantix styled titular track with its upfront upright bass and blast simple drums, to the tremolo laden and sax ridden Rip Curl Pearl that propels us right back to mid-60’s Russ Mayers flicks, every inch of this cross-genre genre’s played out. And with always near perfect pizzazz.
Asides from some of the very worst artwork I’ve seen (not featured in this review), we dispense with the boorish caricatures that plague so much nu-phychobilly. There’s no beer-bloated ego, no violent toxicity, no club fisted lump to the guts. Instead there’s a passion that’s soaked it all up; all the ley lines of rock and roll twist. But don’t take from that it don’t bite. Tikki Beat keeps that tremolo arm busy on thinly buzzed hurricane strings then updates with crushed bass and fuzzed drums. It flies at a speed that keeps toes off the sand dunes and breaks up with hand claps and crunch.
But the real thickened sleaze comes up last, with a sax line that rattles like hot spit on bone and the splitting of spittle and dirt. Toms get hit left and right, jungle drums kiss the bass, some very cool 50s vocals punctuate here and there and this could be six decades old. I see polka dots twirling and soundtracks to B movies, I see dance moves banned outright for salacious suggestions in a room filled with sweat-lacquered messed quiffs and curls.
And it’s over before it’s begun. Four songs in just over nine minutes. All those thrills, slides and spills feel like ghosts to call back through the silence and end of EP. These bite sized tracks, they got swallowed in one and I’m hunting their makers for more… But I’ll hold out ’til their next release. Where their last one has charm, this one holds all the sparks, what comes next might be anyone’s guess. Just make sure to push on through the artwork – beyond that it’s a pleasure, I swear.
Find my highlights from this and more tracks from other Rats on the Run featured artists right here on Rats On Run Radio.