Share DEVIL'S ROAD - The Yard Apes (Impedance)
If you're older than 15, chances are you never want to hear again about Robert Johnson and the deal he supposedly did with the devil at those crossroads, so forget what's inferred by this album's title. No brooms are being dusted. No souls are being sold. Yes, it's blues-based but it's much more, with twanging surf guitar and murky rockabilly present in equal measures.
The Cramps have a lot to answer for and if Lux had spent any time in Ballarat, Victoria, on their only Australian tour, members of The Yard Apes might have grounds for a paternity suit. DNA match or not, The Yard Apes are mining the same rich ground and Brett Dunbar's guitarwork sounds like he's a glued-on fan of Poison Ivy's reverb-drenched licks.
It's '50s rockabilly and its bastard offspring we're really citing here. The Cramps (and the bands they spawned like The Meteors) were channelling people like Dwight Pullen, Charlie Feathers and Ronnie Dawson, The Yard Apes obviously have their collective radar well attenuated. This is probably not an easy task in Ballarat.
As to how the band sounds, Brett Dunbar handles vocals and growls/howls in all the right places. Greg Dunbar locks in on bass with drummer Adrian Jones nicely and there's enough variation in songs like "Chain Gang Blues", "Down By The Lake" and "Devil's Road" to maintain interest. That said, there's something missing. What is is, I'm not sure. Rawness? That slight touch of aggression? Without dwelling on the Cramps angle too much, it's like The Yard Apes zoomed in on one of the latter albums like "Look Mom No Head", by which time the band (the Cramps) had well and truly learned to play their instruments.
It's all good fun and while there's some mild unrest among Aussie fans of the Urban Dictionary which lists "yard ape" as a term with racial overtones, it would be a pity if people had their sensibilities rocked by what's undoubtedly an innocent mistake. This is a very good record if not groundbreaking.The Yard Apes need to be encouraged, not slapped down. - The Barman
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