(This review was first published in UK Rock & Roll Magazine )
This is the first full-length release by Dutch psychobilly legends Batmobile since ‘Welcome To Planet Cheese’ back in 1997. For the younger readers, that when the genre was almost dead on its feet in the UK prior to the Hellcat injection of revitalisation. They may not have recorded an album in 20 years but the band as a unit have never gone away, they continued touring and headlining as a live act to be reckoned with, transcending psychobilly playing at alternative festivals as well as to their own crowd. So that was then and this is now, the trio are back with ‘Brand New Blisters’ and spoiler alert, it’s been worth the wait. 15 self-penned tracks with all three of the band contributing lyrically.
One of the strongest points of the Batmobile ‘sound’ is the perfect engine of drum and double bass, I challenge anyone to come up with a better one in any genre. 30 + years of tightness shine through. The other unique feature of the band, Jeroen Haamers distinctive vocals. Well 20 years have passed, there has been no attempt to artificially recreate the vocal pitch from way back when, things are a little deeper in that department which is perfect for a band that has matured like a fine wine. Age hasn’t slowed the pace or diluted the adrenaline, there is very little let-up on tempo which is no shock but there are some surprises too, Jeroen’s guitar though still distinctive gets heavy in places, bear in mind that this is the band that covered Motorhead back in the 1980s, then rockabilly’s the house down in others in what is a multi-textured barnstormer of an album. From the 1.25m psychobilly blast of ‘Motherfuckin’ Hippie’ to my favourite track ‘Fucked Up’ which has a hideous lyrical topic but the most jaunty earwig of a guitar loop you’ll hear for some time, this is a triumphant return.
Since their recording hiatus a number of bands have made names for themselves recreating the Batmobile sound, well this swats the usurpers, the originals have taken their own music, expanded on it and conquered. You can’t beat Batmobile at their own game.
(C) Simon Nott
CHECK OUT THE BATMOBILE WEBSHOP
and this video from MadTwins