The Cramps

A Date with Elvis

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After Psychedelic Jungle, the Cramps experienced personnel and record label difficulties; they would not release another studio album until this one, four years later. Gone here are the tinny sound quality and horror-flick-based lyrics of prior releases, replaced by clearer sonics and an often hilarious obsession with sex (examples of the latter can be found on "What's Inside a Girl?," "The Hot Pearl Snatch," "Cornfed Dames," "(Hot Pool of) Womanneed," "How Far Can Too Far Go?," and the uproarious single "Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?"). There are numerous sly references in the verses to high and low cultural icons, including "Shake it one time for me" (a line from Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"), "I'll be dancing through the flames/Like a devil in disguise" (a nod to the Elvis Presley hit), and "Now there's more things in Tennessee/Than is dreamed of in your philosophy" (a paraphrase of a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet). Most of the songs here are in various rockabilly-derived styles featuring either garage rock fuzz or Duane Eddy twanging guitar from Poison Ivy. Vocalist Lux Interior is in excellent form here, exhibiting a fair bit of variety within his usual 1950s-derived approach. "Kizmiaz" is unique in the band's oeuvre, being a smarmy parody of 1960s hippie feel-good music; Ivy joins Interior on vocals here. Intonation is off in a few numbers (notably on "Kizmiaz," "The Hot Pearl Snatch," and "Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?"), but this is not enough to detract from the overall excellence. This rollicking and energetic platter in particular is the equal of any in their canon, and an essential listen.

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