Album Review

Postcards From Uranus

Postcards From Uranus

by The Drab Doo-Riffs

7.5 / 10
30th August 2010

Reviewed by Ryan Eyers

‘From the depths of space they come, across the infinite darkness…’ Complete with spooky UFO noises, such is the message that prefaces this second EP from Auckland-based The Drab Doo Riffs, Postcards From Uranus. It’s a fitting introduction for a band who, working in their self-defined genre of ‘spockabilly’, create tracks that feel like something you might hear on some interplanetary surf roadtrip to the depths of the solar system, on a clapped-out but trusty spaceship in search of that perfect break out on one of Jupiter’s outer moons.

At the helm is former Supergroover Karl Stevens, whose machine-gun vocals have never felt more at home over the top of his crew’s blend of surf punk, doo-wop and garage rock that careens along with a sense of urgency and reckless fun, complete with splashes of weirded-out sci-fi sound effects. Think the propulsity and energy of The Hives if they’d gone to the beach and stopped off at The Twilight Zone on the way, blended with The Cramps on overdrive. First song-proper ‘Hot Tanya’ swaggers into town with a silky smooth bassline before waves of woozy guitar build, crest and crash over shuffling drums and also gives us a taste of Caoimhe Macfehin ‘s sultry back-up vocals, which provide a welcome soothing tone to supplement Stevens’ anxious yelps.

From here on, it’s pretty much a ‘rinse, wash, repeat’ cycle in terms of tempo and style, but when that results in the barnstorming fuzz, sing-along chants and harmonica blasts of ‘Trouble’ or the Dr. No-theme-song-on-speed riff and Doorsian organ grabs of ‘Gold Coin’ there’s really nothing to complain about. Throughout, Stevens’ lyrics are as sharp-witted and disarmingly apt as ever, particularly on ‘Ill Equipped’ where he details the frustrations of being, well, ill equipped to deal with what life throws at him, or on ‘Broke It Up’, his lament for a first-hand broken heart. Overall, Postcards From Uranus displays a well-honed band in full control of their craft and sound, creating kooky and memorable tracks that are full of gusto, hooks and pizazz and anything but drab.

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