The gentlemen from Phoenix’s The Limit Club want you to swing through the apocalypse. If you happen to have their 2011 release This is Cutthroat Business on hand at the end of the world, you’ll probably want to follow their advice; the twelve tracks on the new album will have you swinging, shaking, rocking, rolling, and reeling into a psychobilly frenzy.
The album kicks off with the aptly named tune “Swing Through The Apocalypse.” The track opens with a low electronic whine and beep, followed by the slow steady beat of former Quakes drummer, Juan Carlos, mixed with chatter, throat clearings, and electroscreech, then joined by the minor key wail of Nick Feratu’s guitar. After a moment of chatter and a subtle cough, the steady thump of Nick David’s double bass joins in and Nick Feratu starts to sing.
Now, back in the early days of The Limit Club, on the 2008 release, Phantom Cats, Feratu sang “I’m just a music business man, entertaining and charming, too.” In the few years since he recorded Death to You (one of the most humorous gothabilly songs you’ll ever hear, by the way, and pleasantly morbid, as well), those words still ring true, but now Feratu has honed his low-slung voice to a smooth, horror punk perfection. Although Swing isn’t really a “swing,” you’ll find yourself swaying along to the hypnotic, slightly psychedelic sounds that accompany the lyrics:
“Swing through the Apocalypse That’s the treatment I prescribe
reams of twisted metal
We’ll be shaking our fat jive
Get groovy as your
And your flesh melts from your hands
Pull the switch and
For one last sacred dance”
Environmental politics meets psychobilly is probably an entirely new concept, but it works. What works even better is the follow up number, “Shake.” The Limit Club premiered their first video for this catchy number, and it’s well worth catching (click thumbnail):
The title track, “Cutthroat Business”, makes me think of a more visceral version of Rancid’s “Last One to Die”:
“Well I ain’t got time to sit around
While you wallow in a rut
headlines and keeping dates
It looks like you’re getting cut
This is cutthroat business
The door was open, now it’s shut
This is cutthroat business
If you ain’t cuttin’ throats, then you get yours cut!”
I was thrilled to see TLC hit their punk side straight on with “I Hope You Hurt.” Juan Carlos shows off his virtuoso drumming on this breakneck speed ode to revenge. I think it might be my favorite song on the album, perhaps second to “Shake.”
Finally, many (many, many) bands cover Bauhaus. When I find a band that does it well, I want to trumpet it to the sky. The Limit Club manages to make “Kick in The Eye” their own. It’s great on the album, and even better live.
All of the tunes on “This is Cutthroat Business” will satisfy the most insatiable psychobilly fan. My only wish is that the band would branch out a bit more and show us more of their punk chops. These guys are really talented musicians, and they stand out in a crowded psychobilly field. If they spread their wings a bit, perhaps there would be no limits for The Limit Club.
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(c) 2011, Libbi Rich