Beasto Blanco, the outfit formed around Alice Cooper bassman Chuck Garric, are back with a second album, an album full of perky horror-drenched hard rock and busy pop goodness crackling with techno urgency.
Luckily Garric’s got a pretty good handle on this songwriting lark, meaning that, however each individual song might be couched – and the default setting here is a sort of Rob Zombie lite kinda thing – the quality of the writing craft on display always shines through.
Carcosa throws a little Ozzy nasality into the mix, Death Rattle is pure hellbilly deluxe minus the jackhammer deathwish guitars – you get the idea. Garic has a pleasant, woozy voice that suits the sleazy, oil-caked tunes to a tee, and he’s occasionally joined on vox by Cooper’s daughter Calico, who brings a welcome Zappaesque zaniness to proceedings when called upon.
The resultant soufflé is always pleasing on the ear, and never wearisome to the senses. It’s throwaway in nature for sure, yet there’s an underlying darkness to every song that lends substance to what the band purveys, hinting at something more substantial than just a horror metal sugar hit. Dark Matter could easily have come from the pen of Dave Wyndorf, oozing debauched grandeur and hopeless fuckup vaudeville in equal measure, and it’s easily the most interesting track on the album; and whilst a few more songs in this vein might not quite be what Beasto Blanco is all about I’d definitely like to see more of this melodramatic American gothic from the band in the future.
The glammy stomp of Honey is a strangely welcome flash of late nineties alt.rock memory prompt nirvana, and although nothing really fires the imagination as much as Dark Matter there’s really nothing here you’ll be able to actively dislike either; So whilst the likes of Blind Drive go in one ear and out the other in short order, like a dirty minded B-52s outtake with better guitar hooks, you’ll actually find yourself reaching to push play again once they’re done pretty quickly, which is always a sign that the band’s doing something right. Archly quirky, sure – knowingly dumb, possibly – but above all insidiously tuneful, I think Beasto Blanco are going to soundtrack more than a few boozy romps this summer.