X RAY CAT TRIO - HAUNTED
Release Date: November 2022. Reviewed: 27th February 2023 by Dave Diamond
BAND MEMBERS: Vocals, Guitar, Theremin - El Nico Drums – Howlin’ Ric Bass Slap & Guitar – Adam Richards Backing vox – All. Guest musicians Featuring. Fiddle – Kieran O’Malley. Pedal Steel Guitar – Chris Dylan Lloyd. Saxophone – Ben Powling Produced and Mixed by: Ross Halden/X-Ray Cat Trio. Mastered by:Keith Tenniswood. Front cover artwork by: Oli Knoth. Tracks written by:El Nico.
In their own words –about the band when formed gigs etc and influences? We are in our 13th year, Started by Nico doing solo gigs, our influences are Legendary Shack Shakers, Ramones, Reverend Horton Heat, Shannon & The Clams, Bob Dylan
Let’s have a listen to the tracks – Haunted Man – El Nico tells me…” It’s a horror inspired track about seeing visions, real and imagined, and being forever in a haunted state of mind.” Wow what an opener to this 10-track release…this has a fantastic foot tapping catching beat to it… the lyrics are outstanding and loving the fiddle section in the instrumental break from Kieran, then the second solo where El Nico takes the lead on his guitar and wow what a voice he has…. This should have been a hit in those halcyon 1980’s days… fantastic steady drum beat from Howlin’ Ric and fab slappin bass’ by Adam…this has ‘hit’ written all over it!! Really great self-penned tune.
Strange Times At Roswell High – this one’s a real rockin’ stompin’ tune…. Great sax at the start…this number really does move along… I’m hearing 1965 west coast U.S.A. Based on a Stephen king style short story about strange goings on in a small town, it’s also about conspiracies or paranoia. Lovely break down section at 1 minute 30 then that sax explodes once again… fab arrangement between all instruments and the mixing is really spot on…loving the key changes,, powerhouse drum rolls at the end… woo hoo… backing vocals too!! one word…dynamic!
Jackalope - Instrumental track, El Nico explains his writing behind this one…” I think Cryptids are cool. So far, we’ve had songs about Sasquatch, the Beast of Bodmin Moor and others so we like to keep this theme going.” Chris plays pedal steel on this number that sits in perfectly in the mix… drums are higher in the mix which really helps add to that Tornadoes, Outlaws style beat to this original track… the guitar has a fab lick running all the way through it… could be right outta 304 Holloway Road!
True Love – This one is back to the quick tempo vibe once again, I could see this one featuring in a teen movie… a finger clicking rock n roll track and very memorable. The band tell me ..”It’s a love song but the X Ray love songs never end well. Sickly sweet ‘ I tried to bury you ‘ Haunting in another form…. Where does El Nico get these fab lyrics from?! Exceptional doo-wop style backing vocals throughout… wow, awesome!
Now That You’re Gone – a nice slow original track from this trio from Leeds… brushes not stix used and down stroke guitar mixed in with that fab bass sound…El Nico tells me his inspiration for this tune is…” Thinking about loved ones who have left us, sometimes they can visit us in different ways, it’s also inspired by my sleep paralysis that comes and goes and the strange creatures I see at night.” Once again nice use of backing vocals really enhance this tune…3 minutes 11 seconds of pure fab-ness!
Ouija Board Waltz - Enter the Theremin played by El Nico on this haunted instrumental. Nice drum pattern and bass accompaniment. The soundtrack to your séance and I’m sure contact has been made on this spooky eerie original track… hello, is anyone there??!!! John Huston springs to mind…Argghhhh!! Hotel Metropole – 4 minutes 14 seconds…Here we go…speedy number from the guys… drums are pounding, bass is slapping hard and fast, El Nico’s voice is raw and unleashed and that catchy guitar is kicking ass…nice slow sections once again…I’m told this is a true-ish story inspired by some real horror buildings from history. Readers, look up HH Holmes’s Murder Castle and the Cecil Hotel - Unaccounted disappearances and grizzly findings.
Cry Baby Don’t Like It – Another tune that could have been from one of those Lemon Popsicle /Hot Bubble-gum films from the late 70’s… this number showcases the bands musicianship… all 3 of them are outstanding… once again tremendous backing vocals and wow love the Dion-esque high pitch. El Nico helps to elucidate me this tune…he says it’s another sickly sweet love song, that we filmed the video in the Museum of crime in Hastings,…what a fab structure to this song… fabz!
Stop Talking – rasping vocals from El Nico on this tune, wowza that pedal steel and fiddle are really cutting across nicely on this mid temp finger tapping track..El Nico explains…it’s a boozy lament, and our weird version of a country song with lap steel and fiddle, had to get some fuzz on there though, inspired by the Marty Robbins fuzz accident.
Ranchero – Final track of this album which has left an indelible impression on my ears!…Finishing off with an Instrumental…here we have a fingerpicking tune with undertones of Reverend Horton Heat. Wowza that sure is finger picking fantastic…phenomenal!…. bass and drums perfect in the rhythm section once again… but this tune is all about the geetar folks!!...Yes it’s another original too!!
CLOSING COMMENTS ABOUT THE ALBUM So here we have the third L.L. from this Vampyr Surf Rock 'N' Roll Trio from Leeds UK. What a pleasure it has been to be able to listen to all these tracks four times round and be able to review each song… I can assure anyone reading this review, that this release is pure 24 karat rock ‘n’ roll gold! So many energetic and memorable tunes on one release… I loved it!!
This album was Recorded to tape at Hohm studio in Bradford with Ross Halden, and the bands plans for 2023 is still a mystery at the moment, Nico has been in hibernation after the release of this record and is slowly letting ideas for new projects seep into place. Their third L.P. so watch this space gang!!!! Contact the band and grab a copy now, daddio’s!
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