A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Evil Moods, the debut LP from Movie Star Junkies, is a psychic sludge crawl through the mean streets of LA, as informed by the crime noir of Dashiell Hammett or Jim Thompson as the primal garage blues stomp of The Gun Club and The Birthday Party.
We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to review a record called Evil Moods on a label called Voodoo Rhythm. But rather than a collection of damned field recordings or trancelike afro noise, like the kind slung by William Bennett, I was very surprised to find a collection of moody ’60s garage blues rock.
Well, we like freaky 60s rock, and crime noir, so it didn’t hurt our feelings none (although we are always on the lookout for Afro Noise Vol. 4). From the opening strains of “A Promise”, Movie Star Junkies reminds us of all that is unholy in garage rock ‘n roll.
The guitars surge, in infectious hooks, that snare yr eardrums and doesn’t let go, for the duration. Movie Star Junkies have that mixture of ominous swagger and catchy melodicism that both The Birthday Party and The Gun Club had. These fishhooks are underscored with groovy ghoulish funereal organs, guaranteed to churn yr waking mind into glowing puree, and you will love it!
Things just build and build, with all manner of 60s trappings – the go-go beat of “Three Times Lost”, the rip-roaring stutter of “Please Come Home”, which makes us wonder what it would’ve sounded like if The Velvet Underground had stopped off to jam with The Doors, instead of Hendrix, until finally erupting into “Jim Thompson”, with its brash blasts of brass, that are a tasty touch.
Like anyplace, the City Of Angels is a complicated place. On one hand, it is a den of hedonism, a city of dreams where anything can happen and the only rule is “if it feels good, do it!” But it is also a city of dashed hopes, and petty revenge. Watch Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes, or Maltese Falcon, and learn.
Listen to this record, back to back, with Ariel Pink’s Pom Pom, and you are left with a decent approximation of the dream life of Hollywood, in all its sleazy glory.
Evil Moods is a clever anachronism, having the same blown out fuzziness of a private press stripshow record from the early ’60s. It will leave you seeing tassels, and white leather boots!
Recommended for fans of Pussy Galore, Jon Spencer’s Blue Explosion, The Birthday Party, early Bad Seeds, the Nuggest compilation, and crime detection fiction of all ages. Let this be the soundtrack for yr hardboiled reading habits!