By Staff Writer Sawyer Pollitt.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats are a musical group based out of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. They released their newest album, Wasteland, on October 12, 2018 with Rise Above Records. This review is of the “first reaction” variety and looks at their work through the lens of a first listen.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats have been described as psychedelic proto-metal. Their music as a whole is reminiscent of the Black Sabbath era of metal when the genre was first coming into it’s own. Classic motifs and sounds remind listeners of a bygone era in the metal genre when the music of the blues influenced 60’s pop and rock scene was getting heavier and more distorted.
Diving into this album, one is hit with a wall of sound that comes in hard and doesn’t let up. The first tones of the song I see through you harken back to the overly-artificial synthesizers found in the introductions of 1980’s educational science videos. It almost feels like, and this is admittedly an odd comparison, that this song wouldn’t feel out of place as an advertisement for Weyland-Yutani.
The track goes on to include some fuzzy and distorted vocals over a harsh and heavy melody accented by a driving rhythm guitar and groovy base.
The next track, Shockwave City delivers more of the same feel found in I see through you but accents it with a killer lead guitar solo. This solo isn’t the face-melting experience that one may expect from a modern metal LP, but it isn’t supposed to be.
Kevin Starrs’ lead guitar snakes around the back ground only to deliver a gut-punch right when it is needed. Much like everything else on this album, it bust down the door and came in swinging.
Standing at a daunting 8:49, No return was the next song in the line-up and was also when this album began to lose its charm. As I began to buckle up for what would surely be an epic of a song, I couldn’t help but realize the vocals were leaving something to be desired.
The high pitched sounds coming from lead singer Kevin Starrs were repeatedly getting lost throughout this LP. They were in no way noteworthy or unique, which is a major detriment to this work.
The next track of interest was the eponymous Wasteland which delivered a semi-acoustic experience that contained elements of a glitchy production that instantly piqued my interest.
The meat of this track was layered over a foundation made from vaguely electronic fuzzy buzzing which, at least for this listener, provided much needed moisture to an album that at times felt sonically dehydrated.
Overall this album is competent in what it sets out to accomplish. For that fact, I would give it a 6 out of 10. The biggest gripe I have with this project is that the vocals are lost in the production and frankly take away from what would be an absolute bop of an instrumental album. Besides this one downside, Wasteland is a fun and interesting listen.
There is nothing near groundbreaking on this album, but there doesn’t have to be.
It’s a good time that one doesn’t have to think too hard about and sometimes that is all that you need.
While I would recommend this album to anyone who likes their rock music to be heavy enough to sink in sand, I would especially urge any fan of classic metal to give this a listen. Wasteland also shares similarities to the work of Aussie band King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, specifically their album Nonagon Infinity.
If anything in this review strikes your fancy, this album and the rest of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats’ discography can be found on all music streaming services.
PHOTO COURTESY: HEARTLAND RECORDS