The dim lamp light reflected on the glossy tip-on style LP sleeve as our weary, cynical auralnaut drew out the bright blue heavyweight vinyl exhibiting his catlike grace. Touching the needle down he settled down in the rocking chair**, daring Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats to impress him with their Blood Lust.
Five minutes later he was screaming for sheer so-good-it-sears-my-soul joy as he extricated himself out of the back wall of the room which ‘I’ll Cut You Down’ had pinned him to, sobbing.
I was born a bitter man, no hopes or dreams
I get my kicks from torturing and screamsI’ll Cut You Down
So after a week and a half of spinning my wheels, being thoroughly disillusioned by RSD 2019, half-heartedly staring to write about one or two records and then grinding to a halt*, I needed something to re-kickstart my MF-ing heart. Last night I had an epiphany and decided to plump for a record I had owned for 7 years that never made much of an impression on me at the time, Blood Lust.
It was totally and utterly soul-cleansingly life-affirming as only a LP boasting track titles as life-denying as ‘I’ll Cut You Down, ‘Death’s Door’, ‘I’m Here To Kill You’ and ‘Ritual Knife’ can be!
Crom! What strange mood must I have been in the first^ time I played this beauty before not to immediately acclaim it to the heavens? Almost solely amongst all the doomy psych bands I like, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats manage to reach further back into the graveyard mists, to a time before Black Sabbath. They have an appreciation for the undercurrents and building blocks that came before that bunch of likely lads from Birmingham and their on music is all the stronger for it.
But let us go back to basics, back to the beginning again, put the needle on the first track again and shake your long hair to ‘I’ll Cut You Down’ one more time. It isn’t the riff, it isn’t those eerie phased vocals, it is that incredible stomping (old-style) glam rock beat that does the damage, marking Blood Lust as something truly special, something truly different.
This is exactly why I am and always will be a rocker.
What I admire so much about this album is that Uncle Acid never take the easy route, simply cranking everything into the red and clubbing you into submission they play it far more cannily, like those earlier groups did.
Just cue up ‘Curse In The Trees’ and tune in and drop dead to it’s pulverising blues beat, guitar heroics and strange psychedelic washes. Even more so ‘I’m Here To Kill You’ with its hyperactive 60’s stylings and full-on jazzy drumming; Careless Santana, anyone? Uncle Acid hail from that perfect musical sump just south of Altamont where psychedelic burn-outs grooved along with the raggedy nihilists railing at the dying of the hippy light.
By some counterintuitive sleight of hand it is this journey back into the past that makes Blood Lust sound so incredibly fresh, that and a brilliant knack for writing some great tunes. Just spin ’13 Candles’ to dig some real melodic sensibilities amongst the doom, ditto the mellotron flourishes in the epic closing track ‘Withered hand Of Evil’.
It also helps that for all the blood curdling song titles and lyrics there is something decidedly cheap and B-movie-esque about the whole vibe. It’s decidedly Hammer Horror and far less menacing as a result.
Friends tell me that Uncle Acid are an incredible live act and that these Cambridgeshire doomsters have done far better LP’s since, I wouldn’t know yet; but I will. Main man Kevin Starrs aside, the band seem to have had a fluctuating line-up over the years. Whoever Red and Kat may be (drummer and bassist respectively) the musicianship is absolutely superb.
But don’t just take my word for it, treat yourself to Blood Lust there just isn’t a duff second here.
*yes, J, including Screaming Trees Last Words, 125 words typed and mounting, counting.
**it is actually a rockin’ rocking chair.
^and I am embarrassed to say, possibly only.