Album Review: The Hillbilly Moon Explosion – “With Monsters And Gods”
With Monsters And Gods is no less than the eighth album from Anglo-Swiss rockabilly outfit The Hillbilly Moon Explosion, and from the variety on show here, they’re certainly far from running out of ideas.
This is cool, laid back classic rockabilly, but from track to track new sounds bolster the underlying style. From Mariachi horns to jazzy sax, from 50s sci-fi to country, and from swing to gypsy rock n roll, this is a record where dark forbidding threats (Midnight Blues, Black Ghost) rub shoulders with upbeat dancefloor sweepers (Depression, Rose Outside) with ease. In the wrong hands this could have come out quite fatally disjointed, but The Hillbilly Moon Explosion maintain a strong enough identity of their own to carry it off.
In the same spirit of variation, the band have two lead singers, alternating from the Imelda May meets Alison Goldfrapp tones of Emanuela Hutter to the breathless rockabilly boogie of male lead Oliver Baroni, and featuring a couple of notable guest spots from Sparky Phillips of Demented Are Go. Sparky’s whiskey drenched gravel drawl counterpoints Emanuela’s smooth delivery perfectly, with their cover of Johnny Cash & June Carter’s Jackson a personal highlight.
I could throw a lot of comparisons at this record – Vince Ray, Vive Le Pink, The B-52s, The Trashmen, Blondie, Goldfrapp, The Cramps, Madness, Johnny Cash, June Carter, Dolly Parton spring to mind – and they’d all be valid, so I’ll stop trying to nail those down. Suffice to say, while they wear their influences on their sleeves, these guys are certainly more than the sum of them.
The Hillbilly Moon Explosion have a fantastic sound, and this is a really vibrant record with lots to discover. Anybody who likes a bit of variety in their rockabilly would be well advised to check these guys out.