Swinging Sounds From Beyond The Nether Regions, Dionysus Records 2017
Creepxotica Featuring Rachel DeShon, Dionysus Records 2017
2017 was a busy year for the Creepy Creeps’ side project Creepxotica. Not only did they release Swinging Sounds From Beyond The Nether Regions on vinyl and digital download, but they also released Creepxotica Featuring Rachel DeShon on those formats as well!
Swinging Sounds From Beyond The Nether Regions kicks off with “Pungee Stick,” whose name is a play on both punji sticks and how the term “Fiji mermaid” was slowly twisted into “Feegee mermaid.” It starts off with moody guitar work mixed with steady drums and vibraphone variations. Horns and wordless female vocals (it feels so odd to type that phrase outside of a “Music to Haunt By” review) put in an appearance, as does a sitar! Said sitar dominates much of the track. Notice how I said “much” and not “all.” “Shanghide” is both a play on the term “Shanghai’d” and a mix of rousing drums, touches of guiros, sitar and other interesting musical touches combined with guitar work. The saxophone and flute work are nothing to scoff at, either. The band’s musical origins come to the forefront “Surf Fink,” thanks to the wet-sounding reverb from the guitars. There’s also plenty of sax to go with the drums and percussion. It’s surf with just a touch of exotica. The title of “Turkish Delight” will either make you think of candy, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or the Robot Chicken sketch about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But hopefully listening to it will make you think of fast drums and slow, moody guitars combined with interesting percussion work. There’s also some great use of a sitar, organ and saxophone for an extremely funky for the end. “Meat Ships” has a soft, moody opening which quickly becomes bursts of sitar, guitars and percussion that only slows down for the last leg of the track. Vibes start off “Luau at Loi’s,” along with guiros and the occasional guitar cameo. The organ which takes over much of the track might distract you from the track’s soft bongo backing. In “Repeto,” pounding guitars lead to soft organ work and sweet drum work. Its energetic feel and sweet finish have me surprised this wasn’t the closing track. “Rekrul Reef” also starts with guitar work, but it’s just as mellow as the vibes and percussion. But it does pick up a bit at times, especially when the saxophone and organ make their appearances.
Creepxotica Featuring Rachel DeShon has an interesting backstory that involves an Elvis impersonator, Tiki Oasis and a lecture. Seriously. Robert “El Vez” gave a lecture about exotica pioneer Yma Sumac at Tiki Oasis 14 featuring performances by opera singer Rachel DeShon and Creepxotica. According to the album’s press release, it went so well that plans for an album were quickly formed. Said album is a mix of Yma Sumac covers and original compositions.
In “Gopher” (also called “Gopher Mambo”), rousing horns and percussion join cries of “Hey” from Rachel DeShon. But don’t think for a second that’s the limit of her contribution to this track. She contributes plenty of other vocals including some surprisingly birdlike cries. The instrumental solo and vibraphone work are both appreciated as well. All in all, it’s very catchy. Drums and maracas join soft vibes and horns in “Goomba Boomba.” There’s bursts of sweet guitar work and some interesting audio effects, but Ms. DeShon takes the spotlight once she begins her amazing performance! It’s worth noting how most of the lyrics she’s singing on this album are in another language! “Five Bottles Mambo” has a very distinct surf feel and the opening instrumentals are rather jolly. The vocals are nicely blended into the mix and, as nice as it is, the next track is actually one of my personal favorites. “Progxotica” features swingin’ horns and vibes with a steady guitar backing (with some soft space sounds thrown in for good measure). A surprise false ending leads to wordless vocals, sitar and more pronounced sci-fi touches. “Cumbia de Creep” has a funky, sci-fi tone at first but then becomes more peppy and bouncy. Rachel DeShon nails it (as always). Creepxotica’s use of drums and horns also show they’re nailing it too.
Whether you’re a diehard Yma Sumac fan or a complete newbie, Creepxotica Featuring Rachel DeShon is definitely worth picking up. The same can be said for Swinging Sounds From Beyond The Nether Regions. Well, except the bit about Yma Sumac. Both albums are winners and should be sought out immediately. And I’m not just saying that since I left out the cover art again…
Special thanks to Dionysus Records for the review copies!