Frantic Vermin -Apologies Of A Psycho Killer.
Release Date: 1st June 2023. Reviewed: 17th July 2023 by Dave Diamond (Promoter of the Boomerang Club, London) Released by: Crazy Love Records. Vocals: Bert Jan Sonnevelt, Marcel Sonnevelt Drums: Paul Dijker (on the album: Arjan Wiersma) Guitar: Bert Jan Sonnevelt, Arjan Wiersma
Bass: Marcel Sonnevelt Backing vox: Bert Jan Sonnevelt, Marcel Sonnevelt, Arjan Wiersma Produced and Mixed by: Dick "Hardrockabilly" Kemper, Frantic Vermin Mastered by: Dick "Hardrockabilly" Kemper Front cover hand painted artwork by: Oscar Hertin-fantastic! Distribution: Crazy Love Records (also available through Bedlam Breakout Shop and at FV live gigs) Tracks written and performed by: Frantic Vermin, Lyrics of "Bundy's Beetle" by Mike van der Kaaij (a guy we know since the mid-80s), No covers.
Let’s have a listen to the tracks: .. some of them are personal, other songs are from our imagination, books, magazines like "Fortean Times". Lyrics are written by Marcel and by Bert Jan
Bundy’s Beetle- here we g-o-o-o-o-…opening track of this album kicks off with a great floor tom rumble, mixed in with a great earie chord guitar and in comes the slapping bass and the powerful vocals…this opening number moves along nicely and is a mid-tempo stomper. What a fantastic old school rockin’ sound this trio have and the levels are mixed just perfectly… what a tremendous what a tremendous track indeed, I love it!
Give It All Up- second track opens here we g-o-o-o-o…. straight away the fantastic chord structure on the guitar grabs your attention, with the dynamic drum beat and the slapping bass and raw kick ass vocals really make this a terrific tune from the guys… this takes me right back to the 80’s and it has that neo rockin’ vibe running all the way through it… gotta be right at the front for this one…wow absolutely marvellous!
The Underground-mid paced number and another original track that starts with the floor tom up with the drums and swiftly joined by bass and guitar with staggered stops… in comes the catchy vocals… another stupendous track, that really grabs your attention, lots of twisting and turns in the melody and the middle eight is pure genius… what a fabulous original number and over 3 minutes too!! Loving the arrghs, and oohs throughout. Eat your heart out…2,3,4..Awesome!!
Please Baby Don’t Cry- Marcel wrote this original and sings it about his bass! … When I first heard this track, it absolutely blew me away and led to me buying the album on the back of it… needless to say…Boom! It’s such a tremendous number …starts off with the slapping bass….terrific guitar work, great drums rolls and a really fab raw vocal, loving the ahhh’s backing vocal on the chorus, and the chord changes on the middle eight, this has HIT written all over it, you can probably tell I love it… so back round again to hear another 2minutes 36 seconds of this stupendous track!
The Rumour-a slower moving groove feel to this one, I can hear a country rockin vibe and melodic melody going on. This number really showcases this trio’s musicianship and variety in all the numbers from a memorable set of original tunes. Loving the slap bass run downs, awesome guitar work and catchy licks, the snare is singing to me with top drum rolls, and the vocals and backing are just pure spot on!
Blacker Than Black- rhythm guitar starts this slower tune off, this tune has an anthem style to it, one to just stand and watch the band play it and gaze up thinking…wow…this is a tremendous track! No going to the bar to get a drink when this track is played! … nice steady drums and bass throughout and just a real pleasure to listen to. Stand out section is during the quiet break that sounds like a Spanish acoustic but is actually a Fender Dhani Harrison uke! I could Imagine it being featured in a film at the opening credits… great stuff indeed!
Beer, Booze, Wine & Whiskey-up-tempo rockin country song that gallops along at a great pace, as the title suggests … this a marvellous happy tune with great bass, drums, lead vocal and backing vocal shouts and tremendous lyrics… just a mighty track to see live and jump around too and for sure have a whole lotta fun! Beer, Booze, Wine & Whiskey has never let you down!!
I Want A Beer- great drum intro to this fab track, apart from the chorus this song is very much an instrumental with great breaks and I’m just loving the Philicorda sound that just bounces off the other instruments… this track is so good you will get the feeling that you’ve heard it played somewhere before… I’ll have a beer, he wants a beer…. After this tune ... mines a pint barman!!!
Hellhounds-slow build up to this up-tempo rocked up track, this one’s a real powerful tune and I love the exceptional change of direction after the first chorus with the ohhhhssss and guitar/drum rolls around the kit… then without a chance to breath, in comes the bass and vocals once again and you can see the fear in your eyes and another innocent soul has fallen to the hellhounds! Enormous build ups once again going into the instru-mental sections…great worked out tune indeed big TIME!
You Do Voodoo-Another change in musical direction for this number, more of a cruising down the road track, it’s a real captivating song with amazing well worked out lyrical content… detailing meeting a strange woman and what goes on from when meeting her…. Beware before the night is gone!! Nice to hear the Philicorda making an appearance on the final run down on this great tune.
Mach Mal Auf!- This number is sung in German and the song is about a guy who comes home at 3:30 in the morning, drunk, and his wife won't let him in. He first starts with excuses and sweet talk and the longer she leaves him outside, the ruder and angrier he gets. Then goes back to sweet-talking etc. Here we have a slow number from the guys, a deeper lead vocal, great powerful drum pattern work throughout and use of the snare rim, bass sitting just right in the mix and great variety from the guitar …really digging the build ups throughout the track and the way the vocal becomes more prominent and all the instruments build with it just like a tornado whipping up a storm! At 5 minutes 32 this is just pure class and another original!
The Apologies Of A Psycho Killer- Marcel plays some cello parts at the intro of the title song and I’ve been told it was the first time he ever did that, very ingenious start and just adds that extra spice! Mid paced bouncy track, “do you feel my sadness, covered up with gladness, in the eyes of others, I can see their mothers!” Once again, the band excel in all areas musically and vocally. What a way with lyrics, that really are very well thought out. An extremely impressive end to this awesome album…
Gonna spin it again before making my closing comments daddios, hold on tight!!
In their own words – Formed in 1982 as The Alley Cats by the Sonnevelt brothers. Name change into Frantic Vermin a couple of years later. National and international shows throughout the 80's, supporting (a.o.) Frenzy and Batmobile in the early days. The band called it a day around '90. A tape with unreleased demo's was found on a dusty attic in 2009. Several people within the psychobilly scene listened to the tape and their response was very positive. Bedlam's Tobe Wright's reaction was: "If you manage to get the band back together again, we'd love to have you play on the Bedlam Breakout Festival. In January 2010 Frantic Vermin reformed again in 75% of the original line-up. One of the original guitarists was nowhere to be found so Arjan stepped in to join FV as a guitarist. Norbert Smits, drummer from day one, died in 2013. We had a couple of drummers between 2013 and 2018 which didn't work out. Arjan switched to play drums because we had gigs lined up (during which time the recordings of the LP started) and as a 3-piece we finished the album and did several shows (not many, due to Covid). In 2021 we decided to go back to the 4-piece / 2-guitars line up, so Arjan switched back to playing guitar and Paul Dijker joined the band. In this line up we're back in business, doing national and international shows, Psychobilly Meeting Pineda de Mar 2023 being our more recent show so far. Next up is the Terschelling Rockabilly Weekender ("Rock'n'Roll Street") and we've been booked to play a festival in 2024 (alongside bands from different genres.). Influences: practically everything that has been made between 1955 and 1990, with the emphasis on early rock'n'roll, rockabilly and early psychobilly / neo-rockabilly. But anything goes within FV.
CLOSING COMMENTS ABOUT THE ALBUM: So here we have 12 original tracks from this awesome trio, these guys really do have so much variety going on and a pure original sound throughout all the tunes! It really has been a pleasure to review this album and their first new LP for 10 years… rest assured this was well worth waiting for and without a doubt just 100% fantastic and there is something here for everyone!
I would go as far to say… this is one of my top fave albums of the year, with each track having it’s own special qualities!
Arjan tells me…The organ bits… “we thought it was a good idea to colour in a couple of songs with a 60s sounding organ. Two problems: none of us could play organ and we didn't have one. We went looking for one on the internet, found a €50 Philicorda from the very early 70s, bought it, went home, figured out some parts, learned them and we recorded them a week or so later!”
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