When Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats first arrived on the scene, in a puff of occultist smoke, there was much secrecy and rejoicing. The band was shrouded in the dark clouds of “who the fuck are these guys”, yet their music punched a fuzzy hole into the world of heavy rock. Remember folks; I lived (and played in) the stonerrock meltdown of the 90s. It’s hard not to develop PTSD or Post Traumatic Stonerrock Disorder. Still, even with my cynic flag flapping in the wind, I find myself bopping a stoned skull to the Acid trip being laid down.
Jump ahead several years and the band is less obscure, more world traveled, and still the heroes of the fuzzy-wuzzy-was-a-riff scene. So what’s new in the world of ol’ Uncle A and his traveling band of rockers? Currently it’s The Night Creeper. I have to admit; opening this album was exciting simply for the cover. The band claims it a 70s pulp cover, I see it much more as a nod to the original Wicker Man. Regardless, the thing is creepy, which is always a plus.
Uncle Acid don’t disappoint in their inaugural launch. “Waiting For Blood” stomps through in all its Blue Cheer-esque glory. It rises and falls, like a weird sea chantey sung as a doomed vessel sinks into the black sea. Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats know how to use melodrama in what they do. Kevin Starr’s voice slithers into the song, calling those fishermen to their watery grave with something that is both hypnotic and eerie. If you’re going to get down with an occult fuzz rock sound, your vocals had better be creepy. Check. Done.
Apparently this album is about a “street-creeping homeless figure” according to Starr, but the band is comfortable allowing the listener to figure out what the hell is really going on. Overall Night Creeper is good time that doesn’t skimp on cool riffs and doesn’t allow them to take over. Heavy rock often falls victim to everything else backing some the riff. Drums, bass and vocals become the lube through which guitar masturbation is possible. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats produce a whole dark orgy, not just a jerk off session. It allows The Night Creeper to be much more interesting and dynamic than most riff oriented rock out there.
Perhaps my favorite thing about the band and the album is the femininity involved. Uncle Acid’s music, as heavy as it can get, strips away macho bravado, something so much rock is suffering from, and allows a feminine mystique to slide in. It allows Night Creeper to be ethereal, even soothing, but still scary. Imagine Blue Cheer covering the siren song of a deadly group of mermaids. That makes what’s happening infinitely more interesting than the man-soaked cock-rock we’re used to.
Is it all perfect? No. As fun as this little jam session is, it never can get out of its own way. The first song and the fifth song are too much like the second and third songs and so on. It never creates a distinct memory of the tunes. It’s all one big fuzzy amp, and that leads to a lack of desire to listen to this album repeatedly. I also have a mental shut-off valve for Starr’s vocals. After awhile they become irritating, like an itch right in the center of your back that you can’t reach.
In short, I really liked The Night Creeper as I was listening to it, but found myself uninspired to listen to it again and, perhaps worse, unable to recall any of the songs.
(The following video is from a 2014 release and NSFW)
(And here is a 2013 cover of the song Get on Home originally written by Charles Manson.)