Vince Ripper And The Rodent Show – Planet Shockorama (Cherry Red Records)
Alongside all the other releases this month, Planet Shockorama is the musical equivalent of Lord Buckethead standing next to Theresa May on the stage at the General Election. Gloriously ridiculous, Vince Ripper And The Rodent Show (Ratfink of Alien Sex Fiend and Vince Ripper) pull together a number of tracks, including covers from the likes of David Bowie, Hawkwind and Alien Sex Fiend, to deliver much needed humour into our world.
The tracks are united by the theme of alien invasion, kind of War Of The Worlds meets The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The album opens with a radio transmission warning us of the threat, a little like Vincent Price at the start of ‘Thriller’. This opening cover of ‘Planet Claire’ by The B-52s, has plenty of twiddling organ that you would expect to find in tackier horror films. The threat has the feel of a comic Batman baddy about it, all thick make-up and outrageous costume, but you can’t help feeling on his side.
There are many punky tracks such as ‘Teenagers From Mars’ and ‘The Invasion Is Coming’ that you can only bounce up and down to, regardless of age. It’s uncomplicated pure entertainment. Likewise, Love‘s ‘7 + 7 Is’ lacks all subtlety. It has plenty of thrashing around and general noise that you’d expect to hear from The Damned, the type of track that offers proper end-of-the-working-day catharsis. ‘Outer Limits’ has the compulsory theremin. It sounds like something Iggy and Bowie would have produced if they’d ended up in Blackpool instead of Berlin.
Other notable covers on Planet Shockorama include ‘I Can’t Find My Mind’ by The Cramps. It has an Indian-inspired sitar at the beginning and ends with an onslaught of drums, vocal and sixties’ guitar as filling. Hawkwind’s ‘Silver Machine’ has never sounded like this before. Strip out any dreamy psychedelia and replace with deliberate lack of melody. It’s like Lemmy’s just got up to do karaoke and no one dare ask him to stop. Alien Sex Fiend’s ‘EST –Trip To The Moon’ is especially successful. Differing from the other tracks in that it relies far more heavily on the lighter, atmospheric sounds of synth and guitars, it creates a stylised trip to the moon. At six minutes long, it’s one to really enjoy.
The album concludes with a cover of Bowie’s ‘Scary Monsters’ which translates extraordinarily well, the type of thing where you start by raising your eyebrows and then can’t help joining in.
This is definitely an album that you put on in loud company and don’t bother to change – you can dance from one end of it to the other. Party season has come early, admittedly one where you find yourself dancing with Beetlejuice.
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