kidcongo_hauntedhead_printAfter well-known spells in respected bands such as The Gun Club, The Cramps and Nick Cave’s The Bad Seeds, American singer/guitarist Brian Tristan looks set to continue his solo adventure under the guise of Kid Congo Powers. Backed by his band The Pink Monkey Birds, the group are set to release their third album, Haunted Head, through LA label In The Red Recordings (The Horrors, Jay Retard, Black Lips).

Kid Congo Powers has bled rock ‘n’ roll since his teenage years where he spent most of his time being president of a Ramones Fan Club and editing newsletters for the 1970s band, The Screamers. After the release of critically acclaimed Dracula Boots, Powers has once again sought out collaboration between the Pink Monkey Birds.

The new record defines DIY as band members Ron Miller and Jesse Roberts, along with Kiki Solis, mixed and engineered it themselves at a renowned studio in a high school in Kansas.

Opener ‘Lurch’ sets the tone and gives you a good indication of what is to come with its spaced out vibe and spoken lyrics. ‘Su Su’ follows suit with a bit more pace to it, but the album doesn’t really get going until 3rd track ‘Killer Diller’. The catchy backup vocals give the straightforward music a different dimension and have you nodding along in no time. It’s punky, punchy, retro and rollicking all rolled into one.

The group seems to pride itself on being as filthy as possible, and it’s to good effect with the fuzzed out guitars and simple bass lines bringing the album together. ‘I Don’t Like’ recalls early Stooges records, while the instrumental ‘The Rad Lord’s Return’ evokes memories of skating around in the sleazy 80s.

Kid Congo swaps between singing and preaching lyrics throughout the album, such as, “what’s inside your haunted head, are you alive or are you dead”, on title track ‘Haunted Head’. ‘Lady Hawke Blues’ sounds like a bar band rehearsing as it consists of a bluesy bass line with the noise of a crowded bar replayed over the top. ‘Loud and Proud’ is the pick of the bunch with its surf-toned guitar making sure the feet get a good working over. While ‘Dance Me Swamply’ is almost cheerful, with its positive guitar tones and sweetly sang chorus.

The song lengths vary from less than two minutes to the seven minute closer ‘Lamont’s Requiem’, where halfway through the band attempts to break into a little dancer number with Kid Congo encouraging the listener to “shake it all around”.

Its an album to put on if the in-laws are coming over for a few drinks as it will no doubt scare the shit out of them, the creepy, filthy, seedy undertones being the only consistent thing throughout the album. It’s dirty and swampy rock and roll at its finest and wouldn’t be out of place being played at a strip joint early in the morning where the only clientele are those chomped out of their minds.

6 out of 11

Release Date 27/05/2013 (In The Red Records)

G’day folks. I’m an Australian traveller who is still sulking because I have found myself living in enemy territory. I like to discover places with decent music scenes so its no surprise I’ve been in Manchester for two years now. I’m a typical you’ve heard it all before music lover who tries to see the positives in every band.