Review: Villains Of Vaudeville – ‘Villains De Vaudeville’
Listening to Villains Of Vaudeville’s debut album is kind of like tumbling – Alice-In-Wonderland-style – into a shadowy and darkly fascinating world where twisted creatures and twisted feelings peek out at every turn. The music is heavy and hard – hard rock, metal, gothic – all of it wound together tightly, and with the occasional gleam of synthesizers running through it all. Think Rob Zombie, and maybe especially Alice Cooper to get an inkling of the kind of wicked, theatrical vibe that’s going on here.
The band is the creation of Kenny Kweens, best known as the former bass-player of Beautiful Creatures and LA Guns, who co-wrote the tunes for this album together with his friend, producer Tracy Swider. According to Kweens’ himself, the inspiration for “Villains De Vaudeville” comes from the voices in his head, and all I can say is: whoa, that head has to be one hell of an interesting place.
“Villains De Vaudeville” plays out like a concept album, like the soundtrack of a night filled with sinful nightmares, and devilishly dark dreams and visions. The tunes are ripped up by Kweens’ growly, gritty werewolf-hoarse vocals, and the excellent guitar-work that ripples and shreds through the music like razor-wire. Also, Glen Sobel on drums is a force to be reckoned with on every track.
After a restrained, whisper-light intro, Villains of Vaudeville rip away the curtain and shoot out the lights with “The Devil Is Waiting” – a track with riffs heavy enough to take your breath away, and lyrics that reveal the world you’re about to enter: “Look at all the Holy Whores / Sitting pretty in their electric chairs / Soul Destroyers, Sunday morning nightmares / The Devil is Waiting, but I don’t care.”
This album is bristling with devilish swagger, brutally good drumming and ravaging, ravishing riffs on tracks like the sinister “Eat Your Heart Out”, the slower, at times almost chant-like “Black Heart Saints”, and the slamming “Moon Shine Witch Lover”.
My personal favorites, apart from the menacingly seductive “The Devil is Waiting”, include “Motor Psycho” a track that twists an oriental vibe into the heavy ferocity of the music; and the hard-rocking “Plastic Jesus” a high energy, dark and delicious shot of throbbing guitar and bass, rock-hard drums, and rough-your-ears-up vocals. Straight-up hard-rocker “Demolition Baby” is another definite standout with its slightly glossier sheen and hooky chorus.
The final track is well chosen: a cover of Alice Cooper’s “Is It My Body” with Villains of Vaudeville giving the track a hard edge and a distorted touch. It’s a great fit for an album that shares a lot of Alice Cooper’s wickedly entertaining spirit.
If you hanker for the darker, heavier side of things, then “Villains De Vaudeville” should be right up your alley: a dark, kind of scary alley, but then that’s just the way it should be.
- Spirit of Lust (Intro)
- The Devil Is Waiting
- Eat Your Heart Out
- Dead Man’s Masquerade
- Motor Psycho
- Black Heart Saints
- Moon Shine Witch Lover
- Plastic Jesus
- Dirty Star
- Demolition Baby
- Is It My Body
This article first appeared and is courtesy
of Maria Haskins’ Rock And Roll