Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats

Vol. 1

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats' first album, Vol. 1, may not have cost much money to make, but the ideas behind it are solid gold. Working cheaply on clapped-out gear, guitarist/vocalist Kevin Starrs, bassist Kat, and drummer Red take all the dusty tropes of heavy metal, acid rock, biker rock, and doomy psych rock, knock them around mercilessly, then breath life back into them until they shine like new. It's defiantly lo-fi and unadorned by studio gloss, but it works. It doesn't matter that Starrs' grinding guitars sound ready to fizzle out half the time, the bass and drums are barely audible, and the vocals are murky when the songs are so hooky and the performances are so on point. Starrs has a way with reshaping old riffs into something that takes up residence somewhere in the far corner of the brain and won't be shaken free. Check the opening of "Crystal Spiders" or the "Lucifer Sam"-quoting "Vampire Circus" for some strong examples. He can also stick listeners with a chorus as jagged and sharp as a homemade knife, like on the surf metal "Dead Eyes of London" or on the overloaded boogie jam "Do What Your Love Tells You to Do," rip speakers to shreds with long, flamethrower-hot guitar solos, and provide the soundtrack to a night of devil worship, like on the evil "Wind Up Toys." The album is overflowing with brilliant ideas and whiplash-inducing sonic shifts, all sure to leave people shaking their heads and wondering how a band can steal from everyone in sight and still come out sounding original. There are Deep Purple organs, biker movie soundtrack grooves, trippy Santana-esque jams, freaky late-'60s acid visions, and loads of Black Sabbath (both in the pummeling guitars and in Starrs' creepy, whining vocals that come off like he's Ozzy's kid brother); all funneled through the laser-sharp magpie vision of Starrs. He's obviously listened to a ton of music and he's not shy about letting it all come out in his sound. His worship of the past seems to free him to just let loose and bulldoze through the songs like there's nothing holding him back. Vol. 1 has all the promise of a great band straining to break free, and Starrs seems positioned to be a metal hero for the modern post-everything age.

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