Review Summary: Stepping out of the darkness
Several famous industrial bands of the late 80s have released some of their best records in quite a while lately. Skinny Puppy's Weapon
or Front Line Assembly's Echogenetic
are a couple of examples that have plenty to offer, thus enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Hell, even Ministry's From Beer To Eternity
ended up better than anyone expected and Jourgensen went out on a higher note than predicted. Of all, there was one more group that was really quiet and secretive until now. My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult have always moved at their own wobbly pace and it's not the first time they disappeared for half a decade. After working on a multitude of side projects (that include Groovie Mann's Darling Kandie or The Kathastrophe Klown with drummer Justin Bennett plus Buzz McCoy produced the Bomb Gang Girlz debut LP) the duo finally announced the latest sleaze kollection, Spooky Tricks
While predecessor Death Threat
marked a return to the heavier and occult-themed satire beginnings, the guys once more turned 180 degrees and opted for a dance floor ready effort this time. Gone are the metallic guitars and creepy atmosphere, leaving you to experience what sounds like a night out with the band, hanging from the finest clubs seducing gorgeous women, to the dirtiest back alleys looking for a fix and sex crazed hookers for drug-fueled orgies. The kool, lustful opener 'Room On The Moon' sets the mood perfectly with heavy beats that blend the old school synths with modern production. Moreover, the straightforward message in the sparse lyrics 'if I give you some money, will you come to my room"' is classic TKK. Fortunately, the band found a way to integrate their trademark sound into the constant sound upgrade and have avoided becoming obsolete. This way, they fit now as much as they did back in 1990 and any long time fan can appreciate the latest works.
The party gets going with the gritty title track which might be the best cut here. The neat bass line, techno synths and bells-like keys are backed up by Groovy's deep croon, creating a mysterious yet fun atmosphere. However, the setting soon lightens up with 'Neon Diva', 'Hell Kat Klub', 'Bella Piranha' or 'Dope Freek', which are genuine ravers TKK have become renowned for. The lyric contribution is often kept to a minimum, relying more on the music and occasionally movie samples. On the classier side, 'Monti Karlo' and 'Diamonde Doll' could be part of a James Bond movie soundtrack. The former comes off as a theme song boasting some thrilling horn sections and gang vocals that could be ripped off Hit & Run Holiday
, while the latter is a slow jam fitting a summer pool party with its deep bass, handclaps and shiny keys.
The only flaw I could find about Spooky Tricks
is the overall lighter route they have taken. As I am a fan of the darker side of The Thrill Kill Kult I can't help but wish they inserted some of the kitsch occult themes and some distorted guitars a la 13 Above The Night
or Death Threat
. There are some scattered moments like 'The Way We Live Now' or 'The Strange Ones' that remind they can't fully abandon their roots, but these are dominated by the disco tunes (still, ones that you'll hear in goth/industrial clubs and not trance parties). Nevertheless, this doesn't actually drag the album down as the band has always juggled with these aspects and I am sure this is only a phase they are stepping through.
In the end, Spooky Tricks
is another welcomed addition to the vast catalog TKK have behind them. Although this comes off closer to the bouncy euro-disco that was Gay, Black & Married
, is as fun as anything they have put out and shares their trademarks. At this point they can do no wrong as they continue to refine their sound and maintain the high standards with each new release. So, in hope there won't be another five-year wait until the next offering, everyone should check out the record and party on.