Uncle Acid and the deadbeats may not be the enigmatic entity they once were – (un)fortunately their star has risen exponentially with the release of each full length, and as such interest has grown alongside it – but their music is still steeped in mystery and a narrative that is akin to a lost 1970s pulp paperback or a grimy, grainy horror flick that exists only on a damaged VHS. Uncle Acid plays vintage instruments with vintage equipment and the sounds that are pulled from the shadows into further darkness feel old, raw and downright dirty.
There’s an element of seductive danger running through The Night Creeper and the story that unfolds in its pitch black corners is given thrust by frontman Kevin R. Starrs distinctive vocal delivery. Often hidden behind fuzzy guitars, his voice is layered in hazy smoke that imbues the sound of the band with an otherworldly element, as though Starrs has been reanimated and pulled from the earth in order to give the band a more authentic aura.
“Waiting for Blood” sets the scene for what evolves over The Night Creeper’s running time, with the band tempting you into their world via hypnotic rhythms and opium-laced progressions. It’s a strong start and one that lays down the foundations for intriguing story that feels as though it has been dredged up from the sickening underbelly of London’s streets. Uncle Acid are adept at creating an atmosphere that draws you in, destroys your mind and spits you back out again, disorientated, but somehow satisfied.
“Pusher Man” and its languid, mesmerising tone seeps under the skin and takes hold before you have a chance to realise. It’s dank, grimy and wholly entrancing, and when “Yellow Moon” moves into view, the juxtaposition is almost too harsh. The instrumental offering is completely at odds with preceding sounds and as such it brings a glimmer of hope to a record that until now, held only darkness and terror. Of course, such a moment cannot last, and soon Uncle Acid are dragging us back into the depths with the deliriously catchy “Melody Lane.” The climbing chorus and sensuous undercurrent do much to cast a deadly spell, we all know that danger can be tempting, and “The Night Creeper,” which follows, has an air of enticing, exciting menace at its core.
“Slow Death” takes its sweet, sweet time to crawl towards its conclusion and the dreamy pace is oppressive in its movement. It feels heavy despite being quite simple in its instrumentation, and the natural hiss of sound that lies hidden beneath it all gives it an aspect of horror that deftly transcends that otherwise straightforward nature of the rhythm. The track steadily pushes forward into more tripped-out dimensions that reflect the narrative of the record and perhaps give it the feeling of being trapped within the mind of the poor soul meeting a terrible fate.
Uncle Acid and the deadbeats are improving and refining their sound as time progresses, and while their music is rooted in the past, both in terms of material and in execution, they are a band that will be here for a very long time. The Night Creeper is a logical, dizzying step forward and one that will take them even further into realms of madness and unhinged desire.