The Meteors

Wreckin' Crew

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"Only the Meteors are pure psychobilly!" enthusiastically proclaims frontman Paul Fenech in the liner notes to this album, a notion that ought to come as a surprise to the Cramps, among many others. On their second album, 1983's Wreckin' Crew, the Meteors sound a good bit more billy than psycho; Fenech's lean and limber guitar chords twang just fine (and betray a supplementary fondness for surf music), but they lack a certain inherent menace, and as hard as he tries to sound evil while he swears, bellows, and name-checks classic horror movies, this isn't significantly more disturbing than, say, the Stray Cats trying to play a Halloween spook show. But as British rockabilly of the period goes, Wreckin' Crew is pretty good stuff; freed by their ghoulish obsessions from the burden of sounding just like Warren Smith, Malcolm Yelvington, or some other "authentic" rockabilly act, the Meteors get to hit their songs a good bit harder and heavier than their contemporaries, and Fenech's guitar generates a welcome degree of bite. (Best of all, they don't bother to put on fake Southern accents!) Cut after a short-lived association with Island resulted in a misbegotten debut album, Wreckin' Crew truly introduced the group in its definitive form, and is perhaps the definitive Meteors album.

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